Patricia Santos-Ciminera, visiting assistant professor of biology, has recently presented at the Helminthological Society of Washington on “Parasite abundance and diversity in river otters (Lontra canadensis) within tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay.” The research was executed along with two SMCM students, Oumoul Ba and Joseph Ponticos.
During the presentation, Santos detailed their study on North American river otters in the Chesapeake Bay. Their investigation noted that the otters tested positive for intestinal parasites including Cryptosporidium spp. This is the first report of Cryptosporidium spp. in river otters in the region and indicates that river otters are potential sentinel species for coastal estuarine locations.