$5 – $25

The Bloodsucker Proxy: Leeches & New Techniques For Genetic Forest Sampling

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time

Location

Location

The Explorers Club

46 East 70th Street

NY 10021

View Map

Refund Policy

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 1 day before event

Event description

Description

Explorers Club Public Lecture Series with Mark Siddall

Use of leeches in medicine has advanced beyond its thousands-year old Ayurvedic origins in bloodletting. Oddly, the last 200 years have seen leeches intersecting with numerous significant advances in medical sciences including clinical medicine, the invention of dialysis, reconstructive surgery and even microsurgery. Beyond mere medical utility, recent advances from Mark Siddall’s international field program has led to the development of leeches as a tool for studying biodiversity.

The arduous task of assessing animal diversity in the wild involves plenty of sweat and tears; to that his team has added blood with DNA. Specifically, by extracting iDNA from the digestive tract of leeches, they can determine which vertebrate animal the leech last fed upon. Most would agree that it sucks to be harassed by all of the voracious terrestrial leeches in Asian and Wallacean tropical forests. However, because of their number, Mark Siddall and his team at the Leech Lab at AMNH is sanguine about the prospects for more completely characterizing protected forest biodiversity without hunting, without trapping, and without the use of scat or hair samples. By genetically analyzing the last meal of some 750 leeches from Bangladesh, China and Cambodia, the iDNA technique outperformed more conventional methods like camera-trapping, especially as it concerned detecting small mammals.

Siddall is Curator of the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History. His research has focused on the diversity and evolutionary biology of a wide range of parasites, from single-celled microbes to leeches. He has led expeditions throughout the world, most recently including South Sudan, Cambodia and the Lower Amazon of Brazil.

Ticket price includes drinks and hors d'oeuvres with reception, the lecture, and Q&A to follow

6:00 pm Reception

7:00 pm Lecture

Click here to learn more on explorers.org

Siddall Leech


Share with friends

Date and Time

Location

The Explorers Club

46 East 70th Street

NY 10021

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 1 day before event

Save This Event

Event Saved