'Sunday Scientist' examines parasites Feb. 20 at Morrill Hall
Released on 02/08/2011, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011
WHERE: University of Nebraska State Museum, south of 14th and Vine Streets [map]
Did you know that there are more species of parasites than any other animals or plants on Earth? Every living organism contains parasites at some point during its life.
The University of Nebraska State Museum will present a Sunday with a Scientist program for children and families about parasites 1:30-4:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at Morrill Hall. Morrill Hall is south of 14th and Vine Streets on the UNL City Campus [map].
The program will be led by faculty, staff and students of the museum's Parasitology Division in the Harold W. Manter Laboratory of Parasitology. The scientists will share information on the diversity of parasites in the museum's collection, and discuss their research in parasite biodiversity, systematics, biogeography and taxonomy. Visitors will be able to view photos of parasitic specimens and investigate them in vials and with microscopes.
A parasite is an organism that spends much of its lifespan in or on a host organism. They rarely kill their hosts, but can cause significant harm -- especially if the parasite has recently switched hosts. When parasites switch hosts, they move from one species of host to another, perhaps due to ecological changes such as deforestation. The study of parasites can provide valuable scientific information to help understand changes in biodiversity of our planet and perhaps also to prevent dangerous diseases (caused by some parasites) in humans, animals and other life forms.
Presenters will include: Scott Gardner, professor and curator, State Museum Division of Parasitology; Gabor Racz, collection manager, State Museum Division of Parasitology; Ethan Jensen, undergraduate student, National Science Foundation assistantship, State Museum Division of Parasitology; Elizabeth Racz, doctoral student, State Museum Division of Parasitology, and School of Biological Sciences; Terry Haverkost, postdoctoral associate, State Museum Division of Parasitology; David Tinnin, doctoral student, State Museum Division of Parasitology.
Established in 1971, UNL's Harold W. Manter Laboratory of Parasitology in the State Museum is regarded as one of the most important centers of systematic parasitology in the world. In 1981, it was designated as a National Resource Center for Parasitology. Hundreds of publications have resulted from research both in the laboratory and from specimens loaned from or deposited there. Each year, the laboratory staff processes approximately 50 loans to outside institutions for study and receives thousands of specimens into the collection from researchers across the globe for archiving and safe storage. For more information about the museum's Parasitology Division collection, visit http://hwml.unl.edu.
Sunday with a Scientist is a series of presentations that highlight the work of State Museum scientists and those from other UNL departments and institutions, while educating children and families on a variety of topics related to science and natural history. Presenters will share scientific information in a fun and informal way through demonstrations, activities, or by conducting their science on site. Sunday with a Scientist programs are 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Morrill Hall on the third Sunday of each month.
Upcoming Sunday with a Scientist Topics: March 20 -- Lasers and Photonics; April 17 -- Fruit; May 15 -- Extreme Weather; June 19 -- Tissue Mechanics; July 17 -- Fish; Aug. 21 -- Climate Change; Sept. 18 -- Plants; Oct. 16 -- Fossils; Nov. 20 -- Viruses; Dec. 18 -- Minerals.
Established in 1871, the University of Nebraska State Museum is celebrating its 140th anniversary with public events and educational programming throughout the year. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays, and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults (19 and over), $3 for children (5-18 years, 4 and under are free), and $10 for families (up to two adults and children). UNL staff, faculty and students are admitted free with valid NU ID. There is an additional charge for planetarium shows. Parking is free.
WRITERS: Dana Ludvik, Scott Gardner
News Release Contacts:
- Kathleen French, Education Coordinator, University Museum UNL