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Science on Tap

"Science on tap" A small robot with a mug it its hand.

'Science on tap' A small robot with a mug it its hand.

Science on Tap: Avian Parasites and the Scientists Who Love Them
Monday, February 13, 2023
6 p.m.

An image of a close-up of a birds head next to an image of a parasite

Join Jason Weckstein on an armchair expedition into the eastern Amazon basin to learn about the biodiversity in the region.

Despite the rich bird life in the eastern Amazon basin, relatively little research has been conducted in the Belém Area of Endemism in northeastern Brazil – one of at least eight regions in Amazonia with unique species found only in each of these respective areas. The Belém area is the most endangered of the eight, largely because of deforestation that has left just 24% of primary forest standing.

Jason Weckstein, associate curator of Ornithology at Philadelphia’s Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, will take us on an armchair expedition into this very special location, where he co-led a team conducting research to discover and describe the bird and bird parasite diversity in the region. He’ll share an up-close-and-personal look at everything from daily life in the field to the area’s biodiversity, the endemism patterns in birds and their associated parasites found there, and how the team’s findings are being used to advance our understanding of speciation, disease and parasite ecology, and conservation.

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About the Speaker: Jason D. Weckstein, PhD, is Associate Curator of Ornithology at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and Associate Professor in Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Sciences at Drexel University.

His research focuses on the biology, biodiversity and evolutionary history of birds and their parasites. He is a fellow of the American Ornithological Society, and has over 20 years of experience working in natural history museums. He has conducted research on birds and their parasites in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Ghana, Malawi, Nicaragua, Brazil, and Mexico.