Welcome to Hotel Intestine

This site is designed to disseminate the results of our research on gregarine parasites; provide literature resources, techniques, and protocols to promote gregarine research and the use of gregarines as teaching models; and, promote our vision of a research community that extends beyond the walls of the laboratory and is open to all interested citizens.

What's here?

The site contains updated information on our work in progress; summaries, data, and images from completed studies; reprints (PDF download) of our published work; techniques and protocols for working with gregarines; the current systematic arrangement of septate gregarines; and, some information about the folks that work and study in Hotel Intestine.

Why study gregarines?

Although the notion affronts our traditional paradigms, the most common way of life on earth may well be as a parasite in the intestine of an insect.

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Why Hotel Intestine?

In keeping with the traditions of our home institution, our program focuses on undergraduate teaching and research through hands-on training of the next generation of systematists.

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Dr. Rich Clopton

This is the web distribution point for my parasitology working group at Peru State College. My research interests include the biodiversity, evolution and speciation of parasitic taxa, primarily gregarine parasites in insects. I've been working on gregarines for some 20 years now and they never fail to fascinate. Peru State College is a public 4-year comprehensive college in rural southeast Nebraska. My student colleagues are all undergraduate students. My goal is to train scientists by giving students a mentored research experience similar to what one might expect from a master's program. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in gregarines, research opportunities, recruiting one of my students for your program, or simply have questions about the program.

Curriculum Vita

Gregarine research

Our research is focused on gregarine biodiversity. We're interested in both the discovery of gregarine biodiversity and the evolutionary and ecological mechanisms that enabled both speciation and radiation in this hyperdiverse group. Much of our current work is focused on gregarines parasitizing cockroaches using a three-pronged approach. First, the work is based on biodiversity discovery, including field survey of cockroaches in North America as well as survey of exotic cockroaches to discover and describe both host ranges and new gregarine species. The second prong comprises a molecular approach to systematics and evolution by designing and implementing gene sequence array protocols to reconstruct relationships and evolutionary phylogenies among gregarine species. This both stabilizes the gregarine systematic arrangement and informs patterns of co-evolution between gregarines and their insect hosts. Finally, we are engaged in a series of empirical experiments designed to elucidate mechanisms of gene-pool and species isolation among gregarines. Read more about our projects and progress by clicking the links at right.