Western University BiologyWestern Science

Helen Battle Lecture 2018

Beth MacDougall-Shackleton speaker at the Helen Battle Lecture 2018

The Helen Battle Lecture is slated to take place on Friday March 23, 3:30 pm in BGS 0153. The speaker is Dr. Beth MacDougall-Shackleton.  The title of the presentation is "Love in the Time of Malaria".


Parasites comprise about half of all described species, occur everywhere on earth, and harm the health and survival of their hosts.  For these reasons, parasites have historically been important agents of evolution, exerting powerful effects on the evolutionary trajectories of host populations. Looking through the lens of avian malaria (Plasmodium spp.) and its effects on songbirds, I will discuss how parasite-mediated selection has influenced host life history traits such as sexual displays, mate choice, dispersal, and migration. Looking forward, as vector-borne diseases move into higher latitudes, preserving wildlife health will depend in part on our ability to disentangle evolutionary and ecological interactions between hosts and parasites.

Free for all. Food and refreshments provided

About Dr. Helen Battle

Helen Battle

Dr. Helen Battle had a long and highly-distinguished career at Western. She was a Western alumna who graduated with a BA in Honors Zoology in 1923 and completed her MA in 1924. She earned her PhD in Zoology from the University of Toronto in 1928 and was the first woman in Canada to earn a PhD in marine biology. Dr. Battle earned many honours in her lifetime, including the Canada Centennial Medal in 1967, honorary degrees from Western and Carleton, and the UWO Alumni Association Award of Merit. She died in 1994 at the age of 90.