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TEAM

Cicada Zombies

Wojciech Tralle, Tara Fambrough, Douglas Stauffer, Prayagdeep Parija, Katherine Martin, Henry Tucker

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This spring, two broods of periodical cicadas will emerge in parts of the South and the Midwest singing their love songs. The co-emergence of these two broods has not happened since Thomas Jefferson was president. Like many animals, they, too, are susceptible to diseases. And one of those diseases they get is a fungal infection by a fungus called Massospora cicadina where a third of the body has been replaced with fungal tissue. This causes something called active host transmission causing erratic mating behavior spreading the disease (basically making other Cicada "Zombies").
It would be interesting if the Cicadas could be classified as infected vs. non-infected or possible predict impact this year. Also, a possible factor is the impact of climate change.

Datasets are within the National Library of Medicine (starting here):
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9584336/

Initial Idea Discovery:
https://www.npr.org/2024/05/01/1248545162/a-bizarre-fungus-is-threatening-tw

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