Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Sarah Budischak

Reader 2

Elise Ferree


The migration of species plays an important role in the spread of infectious diseases. This long-distance movement can either be beneficial, migratory culling or migratory exposure, or detrimental, migratory exposure or migratory susceptibility, to an individual’s health. The physiological effects of migration impact the health of an individual and the costs of migration can be deadly. When resources are not put towards immunity during migration an increase in infection can be seen. The consequences of infection can be examined by looking at the body condition of individuals and their parasite presence. Body condition is tied to infection status, as a lower body condition would reveal a higher infection status. This relationship is essential in analyzing the migratory effects on infection status. In Claremont, California, a migratory species, White-crowned Sparrows (WCSPs), and non-migratory species, California Towhees were studied to determine migration’s effect on body condition and infection dynamics. Measures of coccidia infection and body condition were taken and recorded twice per year for each species. These time periods were once in the fall after WCSP migration and once in the spring before WCSP migration back to their nesting grounds. Only recaptured individuals were analyzed in the data set, consisting of condition and parasite data. By looking at parasite presence and parasite intensity in a non-migratory and migratory species the relationship between migration and infection was investigated. We found significant seasonal effects by species on infection presence. There was a significant interaction effect of season and species on Eimeria and Isospora presence. Future research should investigate the age and sex of the birds and how those factors influence the relationship between migration and infection. In addition, potential biases should be addressed within the infection data. Increasing the sample size would be beneficial in supporting these results.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.