RCN Role: Student, participant (Tampa)

Affiliation: PhD Candidate, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University

Contact: amf226@cornell.edu

Study organism: Tree swallow(Tachycineta bicolor)

Teaches: Evolutionary Biology, Ornithology

Selected Publications:

Forsman, AM, et al. (2010). Cutaneous  immune activity, but not innate immune responsiveness, covaries with mass and environment in nestling house wrens. Physiol Biochem Zool 83:512-518.

Forsman, AM, et al. (2008). Female house wrens increase the size, but not immuno-competence, of their offspring through extra-pair mating. Mol Ecol 17:3697-3706.

Forsman, AM, et al. (2008). Immune-challenged house wren broods differ in the relative strengths of their responses among different axes of the immune system. J Evol Biol 21:873-878.

Dissertation Research

I am broadly interested in immune investment strategies in relation to ecological and life history considerations. I am particularly interested in how environmental antigens influence female deposition of immune compounds into their eggs; and how these compounds in turn influence nestling immune system development. For my dissertation research I am investigating geographic variation and plasticity in these immune-based maternal effects in relation to microbial diversity and abundance in the nesting environment experienced by tree swallows.

Other Major Interests

Host plasticity vs. local adaptation

Blocking vs. priming effects of maternally derived immune compounds

Epigenetic inheritance of immune strategies

Characterizing pathogen pressure

Microbial biogeography