Project: Host-parasite interactions during a biological invasion
The results of my previous laboratory based studies are promising for new avenues of toad control – however, the natural dynamics of host-parasite interactions in this system have not been established. The aim of my current research is to determine the impact of Rhabdias pseudosphaerocephala on wild toad populations – with particular emphasis on adult toads and the influence of parasitism on reproductive investment. Another major component of my studies will be to investigate differences in parasite virulence across the toad invasion range. Throughout the course of my research I hope to develop a stronger understanding of host-parasite interactions in an invasive species and the factors that influence these interactions.
B.Sc (Advanced) with Honours 1 in Biology: The University of Sydney, 2007
My Honours research investigated the influence of a parasitic lung nematode (Rhabdias pseudosphaerocephala) on various life history traits in metamorph cane toads (Bufo marinus). The results of this study revealed a significant negative influence of laboratory induced infection on metamorph survival, growth, locomotor performance, and rate of prey intake.
Brown, G. P., Kelehear, C. & R. Shine. (2011). Effects of seasonal aridity on the ecology and behaviour of invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina) in the Australian wet-dry tropics. Functional Ecology 25: 1339-1347.
Kelehear, C., Spratt, D. M., Dubey, S., Brown, G. P. & R. Shine. (2011). Using combined morphological, allometric and molecular approaches to identify species of the genus Raillietiella (Pentastomida). PLoS ONE 6: e24936.
Kelehear, C., Webb, J. K., Hagman, M. & R. Shine. (2011). Interactions between infective helminth larvae and their anuran host. Herpetologica 64: 378-385.
Kelehear, C., Brown, G. P. & R. Shine. Influence of lung parasites (Rhabdias pseudosphaerocephala) on growth rates of free-ranging and captive adult cane toads (Bufo marinus). Oecologia 165: 585-592.
Kelehear, C. & H. I. Jones. (2010). Nematode larvae (Order Spirurida) in gastric tissues of Australian anurans: a comparison between the introduced cane toad and sympatric native frogs. Journal of Wildlife Diseases: 46: 1126-1140.
Phillips, B. L., Kelehear, C., Pizzatto, L., Brown, G. P., Barton, D. & R. Shine. (2010). Parasites and pathogens lag behind their host during periods of host range-advance. Ecology 91: 872-881
Kelehear, C., Webb, J. K. and Shine, R. (2009). Rhabdias pseudosphaerocephala infection in Bufo marinus: Lung nematodes reduce viability of metamorph cane toads. Parasitology 136, 919-927.
Kelehear, C. and Webb, J. K. (2006). Effects of tail autotomy on anti-predator behavior and locomotor performance in a nocturnal gecko. Copeia: 803-809.
- The Sydney Morning Herald (2007). Worm a chink in the cane toad’s armour
- The Daily Telegraph (2007). a) Tiny worm canes toad; b) How to kill a cane toad
- The Brisbane Times (2007). Worm may prove match for cane toad