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I am broadly interested in how different forms of environmental “stress” affect physiological responses of animals. Specifically, my PhD research involves characterizing interspecific variation in disease susceptibility and identifying factors that drive variation in disease susceptibility across amphibian species. I am examining the role of life history, phylogeny, and immunity in shaping vulnerability to the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. For me, the most exciting aspect of my research is being able to develop new and creative ways to answer basic scientific questions by integrating methods from complementary disciplines like ecology, physiology, and molecular biology.
In 2007, I received my Master’s degree from the University of Michigan, where I investigated environmentally-driven physiological tradeoffs between accelerated larval development and immune system responses of metamorphic amphibians (Gervasi, S.S. & J.Foufopoulos. (2008) Costs of plasticity: responses to desiccation decrease post-metamorphic immune function in a pond breeding amphibian. Functional Ecology 22, 100-108.)
- Gervasi, S.S. & A.R. Blaustein. Bacterial killing ability of amphibian blood during infection with the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. (in prep)
- Searle, C.L., S.S. Gervasi, J. Hua, J.I. Hammond, R.A. Relyea, D.H. Olson & A.R. Blaustein. Differential host susceptibility to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, an emerging amphibian pathogen. Conservation Biology (in press).
- Blaustein, A.R., B.A. Han, R.A. Relyea, P.T.J. Johnson, J. Buck, S.S. Gervasi & L.B. Kats. (2011) The complexity of amphibian population declines. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1223: 108-119.
- Blaustein, A.R. S.C. Walls, B.A. Bancroft, J.J. Lawler, C.L. Searle & S.S. Gervasi. (2010) Direct and indirect effects of climate change on amphibian populations. Diversity, 2:281-313.