Erica Kistner works in the field in Montana
Erica Kistner, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences, recently received a travel grant from the Entomological Society of America (ESA) to attend the ESA’s annual meeting in Austin, Tex. in coming November. The grants were created to provide financial support to graduate students for networking, presentation and research opportunities. Kistner is one of 10 students who earned a travel award this year.
Kistner’s broad research interests are in population and disease ecology. Her research focuses on investigating the conditions in which pathogens may limit host populations. She uses a grasshopper fungal pathogen model system to examine host-pathogen dynamics at the environmental, host, and pathogen levels. She has been conducting field experiments that examine how the entomopathogen Entomophthora macleodii limits the clear-winged grasshopper (Camnula pellucida), an agriculture/rangeland pest in western Montana since 2010.
Her past research indicates that host dynamics, mechanical carriers (ants), and abiotic conditions affect host limitation in this grasshopper/fungal pathogen system. In addition, she has found evidence suggesting climatic warming could reduce fungal pathogen reduction of host numbers.
Kistner is currently writing the remainder of her dissertation and building a mechanistic model that predicts E. macleodii outbreaks under future climate change. She expects to receive her Ph.D. in May 2014.