How does lung fluke travel from snail to crab to human?

Neetha Iyer | Alan Shabel

UC Berkeley

This project was funded on:
31 December 2013
Snails and crabs occupy the land-water ecotone across Africa, but very little is known about them. These animals transmit parasites that infect people. This research aims to shed light on the behavioral ecology of these species to provide insight into their roles as intermediate hosts for disease. In January 2014, we will travel to South Africa to study the behavior of the crabs and snails in their natural habitat.


Budget Overview

Funds will be used to obtain the equipment necessary for fieldwork and to cover the cost of travel and lodging. A rugged field dissection kit and microscope will be used to identify parasites in host tissue and to isolate them for study in the lab. You can take a look at the field microscope we will be using by clicking here.

An underwater camera (GoPro 3+) will be used to track the behavior of crabs in their natural habitat. Click here to see the camera.

Field sites will be visited via rental car, and city to city travel between museums will be via short plane flights.

Meet the Researcher


I am a graduating senior, and I work in Dr. Alan Shabel's lab in the Integrative Biology Department. Dr. Shabel's research focuses on the ecology of the land-water ecotone in Africa. I am interested in the dynamics of disease transmission within this same system. Parasite-host relationships are fascinating, but poorly understood, in the context of whole ecosystems. My hope is to determine how parasitic trematodes and hosts interact. By shedding light on the evolution of the parasitic life cycle, we can better predict how these systems will evolve in a changing climate and environment.

Endorsed by


Neetha is one of the most outstanding undergrads of the more than 20,000 I've taught over the past 40+ years. This...See more

Professor at UC Berkeley

Project Backers

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