Derek Zelmer


B.Sc. Ecology and Zoology, 1992, University of Calgary
M.Sc. Zoology, 1994, University of Calgary
Ph.D. Biology, 1998, Wake Forest University

Courses Taught

Ecology and Evolution
Aquatic Biology
Tropical Marine Biology
Biological Sciences II
Elementary Biostatistics

Research Focus

I use parasites as model systems to uncover the processes that structure populations and communities. Widespread acceptance of parasitism as a trophic interaction has fostered the unfortunate belief that parasites do not follow the same ecological 'rules' that apply to free-living organisms. Viewing parasitism as an interaction between an organism (the parasite) and its habitat (the host), however, facilitates unique tests of current ecological theory, and affords extrapolation from host-parasite systems to more general ecological patterns and processes. Hosts represent well-defined and almost perfectly replicated habitats that harbor intrinsically hierarchical populations and communities of parasites (ranging from all of the parasites within a single host to those inhabiting all hosts within a given ecosystem). This organization permits the type of multi-scale, among-system contrasts of matched habitats that are exceptionally difficult in other natural systems.


Platt, T.R., and D.A. Zelmer. 2016. Effect of infection duration on habitat selection and morphology of adult Echinostoma caproni (Digenea: Echinostomatidae) in ICR mice. Journal of Parasitology (in press).

Zelmer, D. A. 2014. Size, time, and asynchrony matter: The species–area relationship for parasites of freshwater fishes. Journal of Parasitology 100: 561-568.

Zelmer, D.A. 2013. Estimating prevalence: a confidence game. Journal of Parasitology 99: 386-389.

Platt, T.R., G. Quintana, A.E. Rodriguez, and D.A. Zelmer. 2013. Migratory response of Echinostoma caproni (Digenea: Echinostomatidae) to host feeding in ICR mice. Journal of Parasitology 99: 247-249.

Platt, T.R., G. L. Hussey, and D.A Zelmer. 2013. Circadian egg production by Echinostoma caproni (Digenea: Echinostomatidae) in ICR mice. Journal of Parasitology 99: 179-182.

Zelmer, D.A., S.A. Brewer, and H.G. Hanlin. 2012. Parasites of flier, Centrarchus macropterus, from prairie and channel habitats in the Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia. Journal of Parasitology (in press).

Zelmer, D.A., and J.K. Campbell. 2011. Examining the area-effect for parasite communities of bluegill x green sunfish hybrids in 5 constructed ponds in Kansas. Journal of Parasitology 97: 197-201.

Platt, T.R., E. Graf, A. Kammrath, and D.A. Zelmer. 2010. Diurnal migration of Echinostoma caproni (Digenea: Echinostomatidae) in ICR mice. Journal of Parasitology 96: 1072-1075.

Platt, T.R., H. Greenlee, and D.A. Zelmer. 2010. The interaction of light and gravity on the transmission of Echinostoma caproni (Digenea: Echinostomatidae) cercariae to the second intermediate host, Biomphalaria glabrata (Gastropoda: Pulmonata). Journal of Parasitology 96: 325-328.

Warburton, E.M, and D.A. Zelmer. 2010. Prerequisites for parasitism in rhabditid nematodes. Journal of Parasitology 96: 89-94.

Zelmer, D.A., and T.R. Platt. 2009. Helminth infracommunities of the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) from Westhampton Lake, Virginia. Journal of Parasitology 95:1552-1554.

Zelmer, D.A., and C.M. Gross. 2009. “Active” passive sampling in two species of Lepomis from Par Pond, South Carolina: a case study of infracommunity nestedness. Journal of Parasitology 95: 1054-1061.

Zelmer, D.A., and T.R Platt. 2008. Structure and similarity of helminth communities of six species of Australian turtles. Journal of Parasitology 94: 781-787.

McJunkin, J. W., and D. A. Zelmer. 2008. Evaluating the effects of enteric helminths on epigamic characters of male wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) in Southeastern Kansas, U.S.A. Comparative Parasitology 75:283-287.

Brooks, D.R., V. León-Règagnon, D. A. McLennan, and D.A. Zelmer. 2006. Ecological fitting as a determinant of the community structure of platyhelminth parasites of anurans. Ecology 87: S76-S85.

McJunkin, J.W., R.D. Applegate, and D.A. Zelmer.2005. Population dynamics of wild turkeys in Kansas (Meleagris gallopavo): theoretical considerations and implications of Rural Mail Carrier Survey (RMCS) data. American Midland Naturalist 154: 178-187.

Zelmer, D.A., L. Paredes-Calderón, V. León-Règagnon, and L. García-Prieto. 2004. Nestedness in colonization-dominated systems: helminth infracommunities of Rana vaillanti Brocchi (Anura: Ranidae) in Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz, Mexico. Journal of Parasitology 90: 705-710.

Zelmer, D.A., and J.R. Seed. 2004. A patch hath smaller patches: delineating ecological neighborhoods for parasites. Comparative Parasitology 71: 93-103.

Zelmer, D.A. and H.P. Arai. 2004. Development of nestedness: host biology as a community process in parasite infracommunities of yellow perch (Perca flavescens (Mitchill)) from Garner Lake, Alberta. Journal of Parasitology 90: 435-436.

Everhart, M.E., R.E. Kuhn, and D.A. Zelmer. 2004. Infrapopulation dynamics of a wild strain of Taenia crassiceps (WFU)(Cestoda: Taeniidae) in BALB/cJ mice. Journal of Parasitology 90: 79-84.

McJunkin, J.W., R.D. Applegate, and D.A. Zelmer. 2003. Helminths of wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) in Kansas. Journal of Avian Diseases 47: 1481-1485.

Johnson, P.T.J., K.B. Lunde, D.A. Zelmer, and J.K. Werner. 2003. Deformed frogs due to trematode infection: an emerging disease? Evidence from museum specimens and re-survey data. Conservation Biology 17: 1724-1737.

León-Règagnon, V., D.R. Brooks, and D.A. Zelmer. 2002. Morphological and molecular description of Haematoloechus meridionalis n. sp. (Digenea: Plagiorchioidea: Haematoloechidae), of Rana vaillanti Brocchi of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Journal of Parasitology 87: 1423-1427.

Stanger-Hall, K.F., D.A. Zelmer, C. Bergren, and S.A. Burns. 2001. Taste discrimination in a lizard (Anolis carolinensis, Polychrotidae). Copeia 2001: 490-498.

Zelmer, D.A., and G.W. Esch. 2000. Relationship between structure and stability of a Halipegus occidualis component population in green frogs: a test of selective treatment. Journal of Parasitology 86: 233-240.

Zelmer, D.A., and G.W. Esch. 2000. Snail size as a determinant of prepatent period duration in Helisoma anceps infected with Halipegus occidualis (Digenea: Hemiuridae). Journal of Parasitology 86: 891-894.

Zelmer, D.A., and D.R. Brooks. 2000. Halipegus eschi n. sp. in Rana vaillanti from Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica. Journal of Parasitology 86: 1114-1117.

Zelmer, D.A. and G.W, Esch. 1999. Robust estimation of parasite component community richness. Journal of Parasitology 85: 592-594.

Zelmer, D.A., E.J. Wetzel, and G.W. Esch. 1999. The role of habitat in structuring Halipegus occidualis metapopulations in the green frog. Journal of Parasitology 85: 19-24.

Zelmer, D.A. and G.W. Esch. 1999. Re-evaluation of the taxonomic status of Halipegus occidualis Stafford, 1905 (Digenea: Hemiuridae). Journal of Parasitology 85: 157-160.

Zelmer, D.A. and G.W. Esch. 1998. The infection mechanism of the cystophorous cercaria of Halipegus occidualis (Trematoda: Hemiuridae). Invertebrate Biology 117: 281-287.

Zelmer, D.A. 1998. An evolutionary definition of parasitism. International Journal for Parasitology 28: 531-533.

Zelmer, D.A. and G.W. Esch. 1998. Interactions between Halipegus occidualis and its ostracod second intermediate host: evidence for castration? Journal of Parasitology 84: 778-782.

Zelmer, D.A. and G.W. Esch. 1998. Bridging the gap: the odonate naiad as a paratenic host for Halipegus occidualis (Trematoda: Hemiuridae). Journal of Parasitology 84: 94-96.

Zelmer, D.A. and H.P. Arai. 1998. The contributions of host age and size to the aggregated distribution of parasites in yellow perch, Perca flavescens, in Garner Lake, Alberta. Journal of Parasitology 84: 24-28.

Esch, G.W., E.J. Wetzel, D.A. Zelmer, and A.M. Schotthoefer. 1997. Long-term changes in parasite population and community structure: a case history. American Midland Naturalist 137: 369-387.

Department of Biology and Geology
University of South Carolina Aiken
471 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801

Phone: (803) 641-3472
Fax: (803) 641-3251
E-mail: [email protected]