Wednesday, 26 December 2012

CBC Ideas - Worthy Parasites

Have you ever found a tiny parasitic pea crab living
inside your oyster? Some folks like to eat these too.
Image: NOAA
My CBC Ideas documentary, Worthy Parasites: A Villain's Silver Lining, will air for the first time on Jan 8, 2013, at 9 PM.

Regular listeners of CBCs Ideas, hosted by Paul Kennedy, know that the program can explore virtually any topic in science, history, the arts, culture, religion or anything else you can think of. Interesting, provocative, and contemporary, it's been on the air for decades and it's always worth a listen.

That's why I'm thrilled and honored to be the contributor of an episode that explores how species almost everyone loathes - parasites - are actually beneficial in many ways, even essential in our world. If you think parasites have no worth, think again, and listen to my one-hour episode in January.

CBC Ideas, Worthy Parasites: A Villain's Silver Lining is available on CBC Radio One across Canada: Tuesday, January 8 at 9 p.m. (9:30 p.m. NT) and Monday, January 28 at 2 p.m. (2:30 p.m. NT). It will also be live streamed and streamed on demand on the CBC website, and available as a podcast.

You'll be surprised by all the good things parasites do for you.


  1. I heard the preview of your Ideas broadcast on 8 Jan, and am looking forward to it. I am specifically interested in Toxoplasma gondii, and whether there is any benefit to be gained from this parasite. I haven't seen any obvious benefit so far, and am more familiar with apparent detrimental roles in schizophrenia, depression, and possibly aggression.

  2. Toxoplasma gondii is a fascinating parasite (and one that I discussed at some length in my book). It "may" confer some benefit but the more we learn about it, the more I think the bad will always outweigh any good. This is one to avoid in my opinion.

  3. By the way. I hope you enjoy the broadcast! Thanks for your interest.

  4. Just heard of you & your book on CBC, too.
    I've become very interested in parasites due to personal experience with them (including botfly!) here in Nicaragua.
    Fascinating stuff -- looking forward to your episode on Ideas!