Dr. Katrina Pagenkopp Lohan is a parasite ecologist and head of the Marine Disease Ecology Laboratory at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Her research examines the ecology of parasites and infectious disease in coastal waters and how humans alter these interactions. She is also an avid reader, long distance runner, and the mother of two tenacious toddlers.
Her research uncovers patterns of parasite diversity and disease around the globe and investigates the underlying mechanisms that shape those patterns. Parasites have profound impacts on individuals, populations, and ecosystems, by affecting the transfer of energy through food webs, regulating populations, promoting evolution, and causing infectious disease. She primarily study parasites that infect commercially important shellfish and ecosystem engineers (e.g., seagrasses), whose loss would be devastating to an array of stakeholders. More specifically, her research examines how parasites and the diseases they cause impact ecosystems, and how ecosystems impact parasites and the diseases they cause. This research falls into three main themes: 1) Parasite Biogeography: Shifting Baselines, 2) How Biodiversity Impacts Disease in Aquatic Systems, and 3) Impacts of Disease and Parasites on Ecosystem Function.
Marine parasite diversity, host specificity, population genetics of parasites, protistan diversity, ecology of parasites and infectious diseases, ecological role of reservoir hosts, parasite adaptation to hosts and environmental factors, phylogeography