Alexander D. Hernandez
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Kutztown, PA 19530

 

Office/Lab contact:

112 Boehm Science Center
Tel. 484-646-5861
ahernandez [at] kutztown.edu

 

Education:

Phd Rutgers University - New Brunswick Graduate Program in Ecology & Evolution
MS Michigan State University Department of Zoology and Graduate Program in Ecology, Evolution & Behavior
BA Rutgers University - New Brunswick Department of Biology

 

Courses taught:

BIO 010 Introduction to Biology
BIO 380 Senior Seminar

 

Areas of specialization:

Parasitology; Wildlife Diseases; Stream Ecology; Population Ecology; Community Ecology

 

Research interests:

I am a parasitologist with an avid interest in understanding fundamental questions about the ecology and evolution of parasite-host interactions in wildlife populations from both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.  My research focuses on understanding life history strategies that are important for transmission of gastrointestinal parasites and how environmental change alters these natural enemy associations.  Indeed, at the moment, increasing anthropogenic changes to the environment threaten the stability of many ecosystems around the globe.  This includes threats that are emerging from subsequent changes to parasite-host interactions, such as the potential for pathogens to spread to novel hosts, habitats, or regions, at rates that could outpace adaptive responses by hosts.  Surprisingly, we know very little about the life history of many parasites, or how they, their hosts and communities respond to rapid environmental changes such as global climate change, pollution and landscape alterations.  It seems imperative, then, that we should increase our understanding of how processes inherent to parasitism and disease are altered by environmental change.

My approach to science is interdisciplinary by nature and involves three main goals: 1) conduct field observations combined with rigorous laboratory and field experiments that test the importance of conceptually or theoretically developed predictions, 2) inform society about the need to better understand all aspects of parasite biology in an age of increasing threats from emerging diseases, and 3) mentor students at all levels of professional development.

 

Selected publications:

Hernandez AD, Poole A, Cattadori IM 2013 Climate changes influence the free-living stages of soil transmitted parasites of European rabbits.  Global Change Biology 19: 1028-1042

MacIntosh AJJ, Jacobs A, Garcia C, Shimizu K, Mouri K, Huffman MA, Hernandez AD 2012 Monkeys in the middle: parasite transmission through the social network of wild Japanese macaques.  PLoS ONE 7: e51144

Hernandez AD, Sukhdeo MVK 2008 Parasites alter the topology of a stream food web across seasons. Oecologia 156: 613-624

Hernandez AD, Sukhdeo MVK 2008 Parasite effects on isopod feeding rates can alter the host's functional role in a natural ecosystem.  International Journal for Parasitology 38: 683-690

Hernandez AD, Bunnell JB, Sukhdeo MVK 2007 Composition and diversity patterns in metazoan parasite communities and anthropogenic disturbance in stream ecosystems.  Parasitology 134: 91-102