Gerald W. Esch

Charles M. Allen Professor of Biology

B.S., Colorado College (1958)
M.S., University of Oklahoma (1961)
Ph.D., University of Oklahoma (1963)

211 Winston Hall

Areas of Interest

Parasitology, Aquatic Biology


Over the years, my research interests have focused on host/parasite relationships in aquatic ecosystems. In general, these studies have centered on the population and community dynamics of parasitic helminths in both vertebrate and vertebrate hosts. In more recent times, our work has involved snail-trematode interactions in a small farm pond located near the Wake Forest University campus. Specificially, we have attempted to identify those facors which structure infra- and component trematode communities in two species of pulmonate snails. Our studies have also been aimed at relating these factors to the transmission dynamics of allogenic and autogenic species that infect these snails and their vertebrate definitive hosts in the pond. These efforts have employed standard field procedures as well as modern biochemical and molecular techniques in the laboratory.

Selected Publications

GW Esch, KE Luth, and MR Zimmermann. 2013. The ecology of animal parasites: A review. In Encyclopedia of Food Safety, Y. Motarjemi and L. Gorris (eds.). Elsevier Press, Oxford, U.K. (In press).

MR Zimmermann, KE Luth, LE Camp, and GW Esch. 2011. Population and infection dynamics of Daubaylia potomaca (Nematoda: Rhabditida) in Helisoma anceps.  Journal of Parasitology 97:430-434.

MR Zimmermann, MR, KE Luth, and GW Esch. 2011. The unusual life cycle of Daubaylia potomaca (Nematoda: Rhabditida). Journal of Parasitology 97:384-388.

MR Zimmermann, KE Luth, and GW Esch. 2011. Complex interactions among a nematode parasite (Daubaylia potomaca), a communsalistic annelid (Chaetogaster limnaei limnaei), and trematodes in a snail host, Helisoma anceps. Journal of Parasitology 97:788-792.

GW Esch. 2007. Parasites and Infectious Disease: Discovery by Serendipity, and Otherwise. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. (2007). ISBN-10: 0521858828; ISBN-13: 978-0521858823

NJ Negovetich, KJ Fellis, GW Esch, IG Horak, and J Boomker. 2006. An examination of the infra- and component nematode community from impala (Aepyceros melampus) in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. Journal of Parasitology 92:1180-1190.

Bluegill; middle specimen infected with blackspot

KJ Fellis and GW Esch. 2005. Autogenic-allogenic status affects interpond community similarity and species-area relationship of macroparasites in bluegill sunfish, Lepomis macrochirus. Journal of Parasitology 91:764-767.

KJ Fellis and GW Esch. 2005. Variation in life cycle affects the distribution and decay of similarity among bluegill sunfish parasite communities. Journal of Parasitology 92:1485-1488.