In April, Marlee Beckham ’02 was presented with the Biological Sciences Award in Invertebrate Studies by the South Carolina Academy of Science (SCAS) for her research of parasitic tapeworms that can eventually find their way into fish eaten by humans. The research, which was funded by a grant from South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, represented the first ever opportunity for the parasites (Cyclustera ibisae and Glossocercus caribaenis) to be observed while in the larval stages.
Marlee, who is majoring in biology, and Dr. Edna Steele, Assistant Professor of Biology at Converse, conducted their research by dissecting Mummichog fish and Striped Killifish, then examining the parasites found within. “The Mummichog and Striped Killifish can be described as bait fish,” says Marlee. “They are eaten by bigger fish, such as the Stripped Bass, which are often eaten by humans. So far, there have not been any reported cases of these parasites being found in humans. They have, however, been found in birds who have eaten the fish.”
The research findings were also published in the January 2002 edition Comparative Parasitology, a peer-reviewed journal published semi-annually each January and July.
Marlee is from Camden, S.C. and is the daughter of Buster and Kelly Beckham.
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