2 Mar….Just found out I was awarded a USM Aubrey Keith Lucas and Ella Ginn Lucas Endowment for Faculty Excellence Award for summer 2018. This will support additional studies on tropical ecology in Puerto Rico. Very honored to receive it!
23 Feb… Happy to announce that Nicole Scavo won 1st place in the Ecology section of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences meeting (best Graduate talk) and Rachel Rogers took 3rd (undergraduate talk) for the Zoology section. All told, we had 8 talks. Congrats to everyone who presented!
10 Jan…We are off to a great start in 2018 with the funding of a 12-month grant from NSF to study mosquitoes in and around San Juan, Puerto Rico after the devastating Hurricane Maria from late last year. We will be traveling to the island several times. I am also hoping to work on some side projects while I am there as well. Should be an amazing year!
Everyone is back for the spring. Joe is working on his prospectus to study non-target effects of pesticides on mosquito predators. Nicole is working on preparing to study mosquitoes in Puerto Rico, along with Limarie. Catherine and Nikki are working on project ideas. On the undergrad front, Jaclyn is finishing up her Honor’s College thesis and planning to start on her SPUR project. Rachel is also finishing up her work and getting her thesis written. James will be making progress on his SPUR project from last fall and writing it up for publication.
I will be teaching Aquatic Insect Ecology this term. This is a favorite of mine as we get to do a lot of sampling and sorting.
I was invited to give a featured talk at the Mississippi Academy of Sciences meeting in Feb in Hattiesburg. I’ll be talking about our work on the stoichiometry of mosquitoes. Looking forward to it.
I will be hosting two seminar speakers this term. Dieanne Nuwer, who is in the USM History department and has written a book on yellow fever in Mississippi. I also will be hosting Dr. Peter Van Zandt from Birmingham Southern College, who works on the ecology of moth pollination.
Darwin Day 2018 is on 9 Feb!!! Our keynote speaker this year is Dr. Rachelle Adams, from Ohio State. She works on the evolution of ants. Lots of exciting events planned for this.
1 Dec…More updates to catch up on.
We had a very successful trip to EntSoc meeting in Denver, CO. We had 8 talks in all (Me x2, Catherine x2, James, Rachel, Joe, Jaclyn). Jaclyn won the best undergraduate presentation for the MUVE session. Big congrats to her!
Jaclyn also has been awarded a EAGLE SPUR award for $1000 to support another project in the lab. This time she will investigate how group feeding affects mosquito success for Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus.
The trip to EntSoc was partially supported by departmental travel awards given to Joe, Catherine, Rachel, and Jaclyn. Congrats to all of them.
Catherine has be awarded a travel grant from the USM Graduate school to attend the Freshwater Science meeting in the spring in my home town of Detroit, MI. Congrats to her!
Our paper titled, “Assessing natural infection of Zika virus in the southern house mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, during 2016 in Puerto Rico”, has been formally accepted and is in print for Medical and Veterinary Entomology.
Submitted a NSF RAPID grant to work on Aedes aegypti and other mosquitoes in post-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico. Should know in the next week if we get funding.
Will be attending and presenting at the retirement workshop for Dr. Phil Lounibos on 8-9 Dec in south FL. Phil served on my Ph.D. committee and is one of the most important vector ecologists out there. The workshop was co-organized by myself, Steve Juliano, Barry Alto, and Michael Resikind. There will be about 20 speakers so it should be good.
13 Sept…Been a long time but we have lots of updates.
We welcome four new students (Catherine Dean, Limarie Reyes, Nicole Mackey, and Nicole Scavo).
Limarie will be working on her Ph.D. but no topic ideas quite yet.
Catherine has been assisting on various projects in the lab, including how stoichiometry may affect immune gene regulation with our newest collaborator, Jonas King from MSU.
Nicole Scavo wants to look at the effects of urban-rural gradients in affecting mosquito communities, likely in Puerto Rico.
Nicole Mackey is not sure of a project yet, but has some GIS skills that she is applying to some data sets from MS mosquito communities.
I’m teaching entomology this fall along with the Graduate Professional Development course.
The lab is embarking on an interesting group literature project. Don’t want to say much right now, but it involves mosquitoes (surprise!).
I’ll be submitting 4 grants this fall, along with assisting on several NSF GFRP fellowship applications. Thus, I’m swamped with that until mid-October.
Jaclyn, James, and Rachel are all busy with their undergraduate projects in the lab. So much good science is going on right now in the lab!
Almost everyone is headed to the 2017 Entomological Society of America meeting in Denver in November. The lab will have 8 presentations. Can’t wait.
14 Apr… As you can see the lab has a new website. I’m in the process of making updates so keep checking back. Sorry if any links in the News section no longer work. I’m working on restoring some of those.
10 Apr…Three new students will be joining the lab this fall. Catherine Dean is currently an undergrad and winner of a Eagle SPUR award. She will be starting her M.S. Nicole Mackey is another new M.S. student. We also welcome Limarie J. Reyes Torres, who is working on stream invertebrates in streams in Puerto Rico. She’ll be working on her Ph.D. in the lab. Welcome to them all.
17 Jan…And we are off! A new semester is upon us! I’m teaching BSC 305, Evolution and once again handling our weekly seminar coordination. We welcome a new graduate student, Joe Nelsen, who hails from Minnesota. We also formally say goodby to Chris Glasgow, who has decided to purse other interests. I really appreciated Chris’ hard work and determination while he was my student. We wish him the best!
26 Dec…As we prepare to say goodbye to 2016, I have a few important updates to pass along.
– Catherine and James both received Eagle SPUR awards to do research in the lab for 2017! Congrats!!! James will pursue a project looking at how stoichiometry changes across life history in Aedes albopictus (and perhaps may include examining changes in gut microbiomes as well). Catherine will examine ecological differences between Culex quinquefasciatus and Cx. pipiens. Some people assume these are subspecies or sister taxa, but at present we don’t know if they vary ecologically.
– Super excited to report that I’m once again going to be working at the LTER site in Puerto Rico, this time as part of a set of studies looking at how elevation (and disturbance) affect food webs in palm forest. I’ll be working on litter invertebrate communities and our work starts in summer 2017.
– We are welcoming two new students in 2017. Joe Nelsen (from Minnesota) is starting in Jan., and Nicole Scavo (from Iowa) starts in summer. Both will be M.S. students.
– We have 3 grants pending, two which would allow us to work more in Puerto Rico on Zika. Should know more about funding next spring.
– Speaking of students, I am also happy to report that Jaclyn and Rachel are both staying on to work in the lab for spring. They also both are in the Honor’s College and will working on their theses with me as well.
14 Oct…We hosted Rebeca DeJesus Crespo from the USEPA for seminar. Rebeca worked with us this summer in Puerto Rico on our Zika project. She gave a really great talk on her Ph.D. work. Thanks Rebeca.
3 Oct…I gave an invited talk at the University of South Dakota on some of our work on Aedes and Zika. Thanks to Kris Pitcher, a M.S. student of mine from several years ago, for the invite and a good trip to see the sights.
1 Oct…We returned from the ICE conference in Orlando. It was a very good, but massive, meeting. I think everyone had a fun and productive time.
20 Sept…We have two new members of the lab this term. Undergrads Rachel Rogers and Jaclyn Everly are both working now on the sampling of mosquitoes across in MS and in other projects. Welcome to both. I should note that with their addition, we now have the most undergrads in the lab we’ve ever had at one time. It’s a nice situation to have.
19 Sept…Hunter returned safe and sound from the SOVE meeting in Alaska. He said it was interesting and he had a lot of fun.
10 Sept…I’m recruiting new graduate students. More details here.
9 Sept…I was part of a Science Cafe supported by NSF on genetically engineered mosquitoes at USM. The faculty involved each gave a short talk, followed by a Q&A. It was a lot of fun and well attended.
As part of this event, I was interviewed by Mississippi Public Broadcasting. You can listen to that here.
1 Sept…The summer was packed but we managed to get lots of really cool data collected. Some news to share:
– We formally welcome Taylor Price to the lab. Taylor helped out a bit this summer but is now officially a M.S. student in my lab. No project yet, but she’s actively engaged in looking for a cool community ecology project.
– We’re received a renewal of the funding to continue surveillance of Aedss aegypti in Mississippi until next summer. We’re not encountered this species yet, but we will continue to monitor it as it’s the primary vector for Zika.
– We said good bye to Doressa who was part of our summer sampling team, but I’m excited that Catherine, James, and Adam are staying on as undergraduate research students for the fall.
– I’m now in charge of seminars in the department. Here’s a list of our speakers. I’ll be hosting two speakers, David Steen from Auburn and Rebeca DeJesus-Crespo from the USEPA.
– About a month until ICE in Orlando. Most of the lab is going and it should be really fun. Especially can’t wait to see a few of my foreign colleagues.
-Speaking of meetings, Hunter goes to Alaska to attend the SOVE meeting. Yes, we’ll all jealous.
– A few more interviews with news outlets about Zika and our work this summer. These two really stood out:
Resolve story on our work in Puerto Rico (some details are wrong, like nitrogen gas, which is not what we were sampling, but it paints a nice picture of the conditions in Puerto Rico right now)
28 June…We’ve had a busy summer so far. In early June, Hunter and I took a trip a Puerto Rico to examine the role of nitrogen in affecting populations of Ae. aegypti. San Juan, the capital, has had recent outbreaks of chikungunya, dengue, and Zika (all vectored by Ae. aegypti). We’re hoping that the data we collected will lead to some new funding.
The summer sampling of Ae. aegypti across the southern part of Mississippi continues. The crew has now done the first two rounds of sampling, and although we have not spotted any Ae. aegypti, we have collected around 20,000 larvae of at least 11 species.
3 May…Our paper on how photoperiods and temperature may interact to affect populations of Aedes albopictus has now been accepted in Oikos. This is probably one of the heaviest lifts I’ve had in terms of a publication but I’m very excited to see it come out. Thanks to Francis and Karen Abbott who are my amazing (and patient) co-authors.
Now very excited to see some new faces in the lab for summer. Catherine Dean, Doressa Williams, and Adam Miller will be joining the lab as undergraduate research assistants this summer. We are also welcoming back James Valentine. Looking forward to a fun and productive summer of research.
29 Apr…Another announcement. We will be funded by the Mississippi State Department of Health to survey the lower portion of the state for the presence of Aedes aegypti. This animal has been extinct for the state for the last 20+ years, but with the growing Zika risk, it’s time to see if this animal has returned.
14 Apr…I’m happy to announce that I’ve received a grant from the Mosquito Research Foundation to investigate how Aedes albopictus respond to different commercially available down spout extensions. We’ll be looking at both larvae survival and oviposition this summer.
13 Apr…Rakeem’s paper is now out in press in the Journal of Medical Entomology. Congrats again to him for his hard work!
11 Apr…With all the news of Zika around I’ve been interviewed a couple of times by local news stations. Here are a few: FoxNews23 ……. Student Printz …….. FoxNews23
9 Apr…We’ll have a new masters student, Taylor Price, joining the lab this fall. She is currently finishing her B.S. at Virginia Commonwealth University but plans to assist in some projects this summer.
14 Mar…A little on the belated side, but we have two new undergraduates working in the lab this semester. Elizabeth Dobronski and James Valentine both were enrolled in my entomology course last fall and I was happy when both wanted to get some additional lab experience this term. Both are working on various projects in the lab right now.
3 Mar…I had a great time talking to several 8th grade classes at South Forest Attendance Center (Middle School) via Skype about Zika and mosquitoes. Thanks to Kristy Carr for inviting me.
15 Feb…Darwin Day 2016 was a great success. All events were well attended and we look forward to planning events for next year.
4 Feb…Darwin Day 2016 is almost upon us. It will be held this year on 12 Feb and feature lots of exciting events. A link to them can be found HERE.
11 Jan…Want to pursue a M.S. in Biology in my lab? Interested in aquatic ecology of insects? I have one potential opening to start this fall (perhaps earlier depending on funding). For more details see HERE. Feel free to contact me with questions.
5 Jan…Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to the start of a new term shortly (I’ll be teaching Zoology) and many projects to work on including some new stuff on stoichiometry and mosquito phylogenies. This is going to be an exciting term!
Also, in case you are interested in following me on social media, I’ve adopted a new Twitter handle. Now follow me @aquatic_insects
28 Dec…With another year about to end we have some great news to share. Francis has been offered a post doctoral position in the lab of Matt Thomas at Penn State. Francis will continue his work on mosquito life history traits. Good luck to Francis.
20 Dec…I had a great first time revieiwing grants for NSF. It was a fun (and intense) few days.
6 Dec…Two grants away to the Mosquito Research Foundation. Now we play the waiting game.
19 Nov…I had a great time at the 2015 EntSoc meeting. My Highlights talk was well received as was the symposium on Aedes albopictus in the US (see photo below). I thank all the great speakers who attended and gave such interesting and informative talks. Highlights of Medical Entomology slides are HERE
13 Nov…I’ll be attending the 2015 EntSoc meeting in Minneapolis, MN starting 15 Nov. I’ll be presenting one talk (Highlights of Medical Entomology, Monday afternoon) and directing my symposium on Aedes albopictus(Tuesday morning). I also will be moderating a student section on Monday morning. Should be a fun meeting!
7 Nov…I took my entomology class to the Insectarium in New Orleans. It’s such a great place to learn about insects!
4 Nov…Good news. A paper by Rakeem Daniels (B.S. Honor’s College 2014) was accepted for publication in the Journal of Medical Entomology. This worked explored potential interactions between Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus adults. Congrats to Rakeem and co-authors.
8 Oct…Francis defended his dissertation yesterday (welcome Dr. Ezeakacha). Huge congrats to him for a job well done.
18 Aug…After a very busy summer we are about to start things up again. A few updates:
– We officially welcome Hunter Deerman to the lab as the newest graduate student. Hunter worked on an Eagle SPUR project over the past year but it now taking the research up a notch with a masters project (to be determined).
– I was honored to be awarded a Don Drapeau Mentorship award by the Center for Undergraduate Reseach at USM.
– I am teaching two courses this fall, Entomology with lab and a new Graduate Professional Development course. Looking forward to both.
– We have a new undergraduate in the lab this fall, Bayley Graves, who will be gaining experience in aquatic insects.
– Our PLoS ONE paper, which can be accessed here, finally came out. This makes the our second stoichiometry paper on container species (with more on the way).
– I attended the Conference on Biological Stoichiometry at Trent University in Canada in June. It was a really amazing few days filled with talks and posters on stoichiometry research. I had a really great time and met some new potential collaborators. Here’s a shot of the those attending (if you are curious, I’m at the very top, center).
20 May…The semester is over and final grades are in so let the summer begin! We are completing grant related projects (mostly on Ae. albopictus). I also am working on a new dytiscid project on community effects of multiple life-history phases of predators. I also have plans to submit a new grant soon. Hunter and Francis will be working through June and beyond as we complete things. We are also going to deal with building renovations this summer that prove to be a major pain but we will get through it. I’ll also be attending the Conference on Biological Stoichiometry this June in Canada. Should be fun and informative.
30 April…I’ve done a lot of public events recently. This past weekend I once again did an insect presentation at the 5 Rivers Delta Family Fun day. This year the theme was “World of Ants” and I had a lot of ant-related exhibits. We had about 400 people and it was a lot of fun. Also, I gave some insect programs to several classes at Spanish Fort Elementary this week. Everyone loved learning more about insects!
15 April…I’m happy to announce that a symposium I organized for the 2015 EntSoc meeting in November has been formally accepted. It is titled, “30 Years of Hunting the Tiger. Aedes albopictus in America: Current Perspectives and Future Challenges” and will include many eminent researchers working with Ae. albopictus. Should be fun!
5 Mar…Francis won for best presentation for the Zoology and Entomology division at the Mississppi Academy of Sciences meeting held earlier this month. Congrats to Francis!
27 Feb…I was invited to present the Highlights of Medical Entomology at the 2015 EntSoc meeting in Minneapolis, MN. It’s a great honor and I am looking forward to it.
26 Feb…Another update. Jeff’s final thesis paper, titled, “The effect of protozoan on larval container mosquito performance” has been formally accepted for publication in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America. Congrats to Jeff.
22 Feb…The first paper from the large tire sampling project from 2012 is now accepted for publication. The paper, “Mosquito larvae in tires from Mississippi, U.S.A.: the efficacy of abiotic and biotic parameters in predicting spatial and temporal patterns of mosquitoes populations and communities”, will appear in the Journal of Medical Entomology. Congrats to all co-authors.
19 Feb…I am happy to announce that the new edition of Freshwater Invertebrates, by Jim Thorpe and Chris Rodgers is now out. My co-author and I (Siggi Kehl) have a chapter on the ecology of aquatic beetles in this volume. Also, one of Siggi’s photos is featured on the front cover (the adult dytiscid on the lower right).
6 Feb…Francis gave a public presentation of this dissertation work. Now on the to the dissertation!
8 Jan…We say farewell to another year. Some news to pass along…
– I am teaching Zoology and preparing for this year’s Darwin Day celebration (set for 13 Feb). This year we have an exciting speaker, Dr. Jerry Coyne, from the University of Chicago, along with many other exciting events planned.
– Rakeem Daniels, who did his Honor’s college project in the lab is currently working on his Masters degree at Exeter University in England. Congrats!
– Hunter Deerman is back for another semester working in the lab on his Eagle SPUR project. We hope to have the stable isotope data back before the end of the term.
20 Nov…The Portland meeting was a success! Francis gave and excellent talk and I was able to catch up with a lot of colleagues (and meet some new folks as well). Below are some photos of the meeting location.
13 Nov…Francis and I will be off to attend and present at the Entomological Society of America meeting, held in Portland, OR. Should be fun!
10 Nov…We are wrapping up field experiments with Culex quinquefasciatus testing the link between female oviposition choice and larval survival. We hope to run similar trials in the spring for Aedes albopictus, as it’s getting too cold even for Mississippi to run them now!
16 Sept…David Allgood (M.S. 2011) has secured a position at TyraTech, Inc. in North Carolina, where he will be in charge of rearing several different insect species. Congrats to David!
5 Sept…After losing my hard drive on my computer a couple of weeks ago I now have the website working again! In the mean time, lots of stuff has been happening.
– I am happy to announce that I received tenure and promotion to Associate professor this summer.
– The fall semester is off to a quick start. I am teaching Ecology, Chris is getting his research finished up (and his proposal), and Francis is attempting to graduate.
– Hunter Deerman is working in the lab again, and will be starting his EAGLE SPUR research soon. Congrats again to Hunter.
– Stephanie Schelble (M.S. 2014) is now teaching at a local college hear Buffalo, NY. Congrats to Stephanie.
– I had an exciting time in England attending the European Congress of Entomology in York, UK in August.
– The dytiscid book is now out in press. It can be purchased from a number of places, but here is a link to Amazon.
23 June…I officially finished the last proofs for the dytiscid book! It’s been a long 3 years working on it and I am really grateful to all the authors who have contributed. I cannot honestly say when I will do another book but am excited to see the finished product (should be out in the next month or so).
10 June…We are on to summer work (including more grant related stuff) and have two undergraduate students in the lab (Hunter Deerman and Lee Jennings). We also are working on various manuscripts from the grant and other work that we hope to have submitted soon.
6 June…Congrats to Stephanie who successfully defended her masters thesis!
23 May…The semester is now at an end and we are now on to summer research. It looks to be another busy time in the lab.
8 May… Carmen Bofill has been accepted and will attend the University of Texas at Austin for her masters in Public Health. Horns up (or whatever they say).
7 May 2014…After a great deal of work all three Honor’s college students in the lab finished their theses and graduated! Congrats to John Lloyd Martin (how competition effects nutrient stoichiometry of mosquitoes), Carmen Bofill (life history effects on predation by Laccophilus f. rufus on Culex quinquefasciatus), and Rakeem Daniels (adult-adult interactions on survival and oviposition in Cx. quinquefasciatus and Ae. albopictus). Congratulations to all of them for a job well done!
26 Apr…Carmen Bofill won the best undergraduate talk during this years Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Student Forum symposium. Congrats to Carmen on a job well done!
28 Mar…Hunter Deerman, an undergraduate working in the lab this semester, has been awarded a 2014 Eagle SPUR research grant for a project he will condut this fall on nutrient content of mosquitoes across diverse resource environments. Congrats to Hunter!
19 Mar….Chris presented some of his work on spiders in tire piles at this years Mississippi Mosquito Vector Control Association meeting.
6 Mar…Carmen, Francis, and Chris all presented in the 2014 Mississippi Academy of Sciences meeting held in Hattiesburg, MS.
5 Mar…David Allgood (M.S. 2011) is now a Research Specialist at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Beneficial Insect lab. David will be in charge of rearing various insects. Congrats to David.
22 Jan…Don got his photograph of adult Culex coronator on the cover of this months Journal of Medical Entomology. In the same issue is the paper by Don and Jeff Skiff that examines competitive interactions between this species and two container dominants.
21 Jan…The first publication of the new year! Kris Pitcher (M.S. 2010) got his masters work on predaceous diving beetle niche research accepted in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America. Congrats to Kris!
16 Jan…Jeff Skiff (M.S. 2013) is now employed by ADM (“The Supermarket to the World”). He’ll be working in a quality control lab. Congrats to Jeff!
14 Jan...A new year and semester have begun. I’ll be teaching two courses this semester (non-majors and zoology) and we have a good list of projects to wrap up and begin. The lab had a good 2013, especially in the publication realm, and we are hoping to have another good year of research.
7 Dec…Looks like we are closing out the year with more good news. Jeff Skiff has had another paper accepted (Journal of Medical Entomology) from his thesis. This one is on behavioral differences among larvae of Culex quinquefasciatus, Cx. coronator, Aedes albopictus, and Ae. triseriatus. Well done!
4 Dec….A very cool gift! My entomology class surprised me yesterday with a t-shirt specifically made for the class. I was also very cool that most of the class wearing them!! Thank you to everyone for this very amazing gesture! Now get studying for your final!!!!
14 Nov…The entire lab (including Carmen) attended the 2013 Entomological Society of America meeting in Austin, TX this week. Don, Francis, Chris, and Stephanie gave talks and all had a good time.
11 Oct…I took my entomology course out to the Lake Thoreau center for an all day collecting trip. We found lots of cool stuff (including a female mantis producing an ootheca!).
9 Oct…We had a visit from Kevin Caillouet from the St. Tammany Mosquito Abatement District (near New Orleans) who gave a talk during E3. It was great to make contact with someone local who is interested in mosquito ecology.
7 Oct…David Allgood has his first paper accepted from his masters work. The paper is in Medical and Veterinary Entomology and examines competition between Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus under different pollution regimes.
4 Oct…We hosted Barry Alto from the Florida Medical Enomology Lab who gave a departmental talk on his work with mosquito-virus interactions and on viral evolution. Barry and I worked in the same graduate lab together so it was great to see him.
23 Sept…Another paper accepted. This one will appear in the Journal of Medical Entomology and addresses interspecific competition among Culex coronator (a new invasive mosquito), Aedes albopictus, and Cx. quinquefasciatus. This project was completed with help from Jeff Skiff (M.S. 2013).
20 Sept…Don gave a departmental seminar on an overview of the research in the lab.
Also, John Lloyd Martin, has now begun his Honor’s college project in the lab. His experiment will look at the effect of different resource environments and competition on nutrient stoichiometry of Aedes albopictus, Ae. aegypti, and Culex quinquefasciatus. It looks to be very exciting.
29 Aug…Carmen Bofill, who is working on her Honor’s thesis in the lab, starting her work today! She’s investigating consumption rates of the dytisicid Laccophilus fasciatus rufus on the mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus. She is starting with investigations with adult beetles (below).
19 Aug…After a productive summer a new semester is upon us. Don will be teaching Entomology this fall and the lab will continue to work on grant related projects (including investigations of larval survival traits). We also say goodbye to Stephen Flanagan, who will be pursuing more molecular related topics for his Ph.D.
18 Aug…I now am recruiting a new student for spring 2014.
7 Aug…Don has finally (yes finally) completed the invited chapter on aquatic beetles for the new edition of Thorp & Covich. Big thanks to his co-author Siggi Kehl. This should be out sometime in early to mid-2014. It was a lot of work but a lot of fun as well. One thing I am very proud of is that we were able to amass photos ofindividuals that represent all beetle familes. I took a few of those (including the Hydrophilidae, below).
19 July…The oviposition experiments have begun! We’ll be testing some specific factors for Aedes albopcitus first, and the four enclosures are stocked and ready to (hopefully) yield some good data. We have 3 more species to run this summer but now that the enclosures are good to go things should move along quickly.
14 June…Another paper accepted (in Hydrobiologia)!. This one is Don’s last post doctoral project, which looked at spatial variation and hunting behavior of two genera of larval predaceous diving beetles. Thanks to co-auhors Steve Vamosi, Sacha O’Regan, and Bianca Wohlfahrt.
4 June…Francis, John Lloyd, and Don traveled to New Orleans to look for Aedes aegypti larvae for new coloines for planned experiments. Although it was very dry (and hot), we did manage to find a good number of larvae (many appear to be Ae. aegypti). New Orleans is one of the last strongholds for this species after it went locally extinct in most of the southern U.S. thanks (in part) to the invasion of Ae. albopictus.
3 June…We began the construction of the large oviposition cages we will use throughout the rest of the year for grant related experiments. Everyone lent a hand which made things go faster (which was good considering the heat).
22 May…The trip to French Guiana was a great success. Stephanie, Stephen, and Don made the trip with Kelly Miller from the University of New Mexico in the hopes of collecting aquatic beetles inhabiting phytotelmata. Athough the beetles were hard to come by, we did collect a lot of specimens for the USM and personal collections, and did manage to collect some phytotelmata communities (e.g., Heliconia bracts, bamboo internodes). Below are some photos from the trip. The three of us hope to present an E3 early this fall to share more about the trip details.
3 May…Don received the 2013 Faculty Senate Junior Research Award (below, accepting the award from Provost Weisenburg). This award is given to one Assistant Professor per year at USM to acknowledge outstanding research contributions.
30 April…We are quickly winding down the spring semester. We will soon say goodbye to Jeff who has successfully completed his masters (again, congrats!). At present, everyone else is getting ready for summer field work and various thesis/dissertation projects. Before that can begin, Stephanie, Stephen, and Don will be heading off to French Guiana for a 10 day trip in early May to collect phytotelmata associated insects (and anything else we can get). This trip is with Kelly Miller so it will be pretty exciting and offer lots of potential new areas of research!
5 April…A recent paper by Paul Mickle has appeared in the Southeastern Naturalist and Don is a co-author. Paul was a Ph.D. student of Jake Schaefer and Don sat on Paul’s committee. The paper details the diet variation (mostly insect larvae) of juvenile Alabama shad (a fish!). This is not the first foray into the realm of vertebrates for Don, as he published a species account of Peropteryx macrotis, the dog-like bat, from South America.
20 Mar…Francis and Stephanie gave talks at the Mississippi Mosquito Vector Control Association meeting in Raymond, MS. It’s good to share our work with those involved at the “front lines” of control.
18 Mar…We welcome another Honor’s College Student, Silvano (Rakeem) Daniels. Rakeem will be investigating adult-adult interactions in two genera of mosquitoes.
15 Mar…Jeff successfully defended this thesis today! Congrats to Jeff for a job well done.
21 Feb…Carmen Bofill, and undergrad who has been working in the lab this semester, has been accepted into the Honor’s College and will be doing her thesis with us. She joins John Lloyd Martin, who is working on the ecological stoichiometry of competing container mosquitoes for his Honor’s thesis.
20 Feb…The campus was hit by a damaging tornado on 11 Feb. It is responsible for about $500 million in damage to the south side of campus, and laid waste to many businesses along Hardy street in Hattiesburg. Here are some photos of the aftermath and here is a link to some videos of the storm (from atop JST). Fortunately there was no loss of life, and most of the USM campus was left undamaged (including the science buildings).
5 Feb…Our first official paper accepted in the new year, “Implications of salinity concentrations for the performance and competitive interactions of the mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae)”, will be coming out soon in Medical and Veterinary Entomology. As the title suggests, this work looked at the tolerance to and effects of salt for the interactions between two common Aedes mosquitoes. Thanks to co-authors Michael Resikind, Elizabeth Himel, and Steve Vamosi.
25 Jan…Shannon McCauley from the University of Toronto visited USM and gave a departmental seminar on some of her work on aquatic insect metacommunities. It was a fun visit and we had a good time catching up with Shannon.
22 Jan…We are OFF! The spring semester is officially underway and it proves to be a very fun and busy semester. Besides the full complement of grad students, we welcome a new undergrad researcher, Carmen Bofill, who will be getting some lab experience this semester. Also, John Lloyd Martin, an Honor’s College student, will be doing his undergraduate research project on the influence of competition on elemental stoichometry in mosquitoes. This is a follow up to another couple of projects we have done over the past year. Also, we say goodbye to Alisa (“Dr. Abuz-something or other” to everyone) who worked her butt off this past year on several exciting projects in the lab. Alisa is currently on the job front and we wish her very well in that.
18 Jan…With the new semester comes the new E3 schedule, which can be found HERE. In addition to talks by others in the department, the lab will be responsible for four talks (Chirs and Stephanie giving pre-proposal talks, Jeff defending, and Don giving a talk about temperature and photoperiod effects on Aedes albopictus). Should be fun!
14 Dec… We are saying goodbye to another semester (and shortly to 2012). It was a very busy year but also very productive. Thanks to the entire lab for another great year and we are looking forward to some new faces in the spring.
5 Dec…Don gave a presentation to a group of seniors at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute on mosquitoes. It was a fun time and there were lots of interesting questions. Thanks to all who attended.
16 Nov 2012…We had a very successful trip to Knoxville for the Entomological Society of America meeting. All the members of the lab attended and everyone (but Stephanie) gave a talk (see below). Knoxville was a good meeting and it was an great to see so many colleagues.
9 Nov 2012…We hosted Weston Nowlin from Texas State in the department. Weston gave a departmental seminar and we had a good time meeting him (he is also Alisa’s doctoral advisor so they had lots to talk about).
3 November…It’s been a very busy semester but we took a “break” while Kelly Miller visited to give a seminar (actually 2!). Kelly and I took a drive out to south central Alabama to look for the elusive Spanglerogyrus, a small and interesting whirligig beetle. Although we came up empty, we did collect quite a few water beetles and other assorted aquatic insects. Below are some shots of our collecting trip.
31 October…Francis gave an oral presentation on his doctoral thesis proposal during E3. It’s looking good and I’m looking forward to seeing how it comes out.
13 September….The semester is fully upon us. We have formally welcomed Stephanie Schelble to the lab (although she arrived during the summer). Stephanie is a masters student who likely will be continuing her work on mosquitoes she began in the lab of my pal Katie Costanzo. We should have a very full semester with everyone gearing up for the 2012 EntSoc meeting in Knoxville, visits by two scientists, and proposal defenses. Should be fun!
11 Aug…Francis, Stephen, and Don attended the Ecological Society of America meeting in Portland, OR. The meeting was fun and we had a good time. Now we prepare for the fall semester!
2 Aug…The lab has been quite busy this summer, with three major projects on-going. The biggest news comes from our sampling of tire communities across Misssissippi, wherein we found the new invasive species, Aedes japonicus at a couple of our northern sites. This mosquito was introduced in the mid-1990s into New York state and has been making its way westward ever since. The first record of it in Mississippi was in 2007 although we are the first to document it using tires here in the state. As mosquitoes go, this one is rather cool looking with golden stripes on the scutellum (female photo below).
18 Jul…Another paper out! A project from my post doc at the University of Calgary is now out in the Journal of Medical Entomology (49: 825-832) with my post doc advisor Steve Vamosi and doctoral advisor Steve Juliano as co-authors. This project investigated the response life history traits of different populations of Aedes albopictus across North America to changes in photoperiod. We’re already competed a follow-up project and included some modeling with my collaborator, Karen Abbott, from Iowa State.
11 June…We hosted 35 campers from the 2012 Young Naturalist Summer Science Camp for high school students organized by Aimee Thomas and Cynthia Littlejohn. The students learned about how insects can be used as a tool to understand ecosystem health and got to examine some cool insects.
8 June…We’ve now wrapped up the first round of sampling for our tire project, sampling 6 sites in all and collecting close to 200 tires. Apart from the protozoans, bacteria, detritus, and environmental data we soon will extract, we have identified over 20,000 mosquitoes. Within those, we are finding lots of Aedes albopictus (not surprising) but we’ve also sampled tires with Culex coronator and a new invasive, Aedes japonicus. I’ve written a bit about this new mosquitohere. Round 2 will begin in a couple weeks.
7 June…Spiders! We’ve starting working on a new project examining the contribution of tree hole mosquitoes to spider predators at the Lake Thoreau center. We have an ambitious plan to sample spiders, record mosquito production from tree holes, and to release “marked” mosquitoes so we can quantify how much of their biomass is making it into spiders. I’ve posted a few photos from our first day efforts to sample spiders below (above, Chris digs a pitfall trap…below, Stephen collects spiders after sweeping).
16 May…The end of the semester has come and gone and we have now begun our summer sampling of tire sites across Mississippi. We hit our first two sites yesterday (Ohlo and Jackson, MS). Some shots below of us hard at work. Note that when you have tires, you will have biting adults.
3 May…On 20 April Don recieved the 2012 College of Science and Technology Outstanding Research Award (below, Dean Joe Whitehead presenting the award). This award is given to one faculty member per year in the college to acknowledge outstanding reserch contributions.
28 Apr…Don participated in the 2012 Delta Woods Family Fun Day giving presentations on insects of the Gulf Coast.
12 Apr…I took my Aquatic Insect Ecology course out for some field sampling this week. We visited some lentic sites and got quite a lot of cool insects.
21 Mar…Don and David gave talks at this year’s Mississippi Mosquito Vector Control Association meeting in Raymond, MS. We had a good (albeit short) time at the meeting but are hopeful it will generate lots of tire site leads for this spring’s project. In addition, Don was nominated to be President At Large for the association (an out of the blue but wonderful gesture). Thanks again to Wendy and Jerome for organizing things.
24 Feb…I am now a member of LinkedIn. Visit my profile here.
31 Jan…As the news semester begins it’s time to roll out the new E3 schedule. Find it HERE.
12 Jan…A new semester is upon us! This should be a full semester as we welcome two new graduate students (Stephen Flanagan and Chris Glasgow) and a post doc (Alisa Abuzeineh) to the lab. Also, I will be teaching three courses (Aquatic insect ecology, Zoology, and a graduate reading seminar). Updates to the lab personal and course site will occur shortly.
10 Jan…Another paper accepted! This time our tree hole/tire comparison work from 2009 has been accepted pending some corrections in the Journal of Medical Entomology. Kudos to co-authors Kevin Kuehn, Jamie Kneitel, and David Allgood for their help on this one. Great way to start off the new year!
18 Dec…Alas another semester has come and gone. It has been a productive year for the lab. To finish things off we took delivery of our new insect cabinet (Francis shown for scale) that should help to improve our collection here at USM.
15 Nov…Another paper accepted! Anne Winters project using stable isotope and nutrient analysis to investigate performance of A. albopictus and Culex restuans across different detritus environments was accepted for publication in Ecological Entomology. Anne has recently received an Endeavor Award from the Australia government that will fund her doctoral work at the University of Queensland. Congrats on all fronts!
4 Nov…The lab keeps getting bigger! We will be welcoming two new graduate students this spring, William (Chris) Glasgow (M.S.) and Stephen Flanagan (Ph.D.). Chris has worked in the Yee lab for two semesters and will graduate from USM this December. Stephen is completing his M.S. at Eastern Washington University.
1 Nov…Alisa Abuzeineh, who recently received her Ph.D. from Texas State University under Dr. Weston Nowlin, has accepted a post doctoral position in the lab. She will join the lab in early 2012 and be part of the recently funded NIH AREA grant to study how ecological filters affect container mosquito communities. We are looking forward to her arrival.
28 Oct…We had a busy but productive Friday. The lab hosted Dr. Karen Abbott who gave a great departmental seminar on synchrony and stability in model metapopulations. We were also hosting a prospective graduate student and post doc who would be supported under the new NIH grant.
25 Oct…I gave a presentation on insect to the 1st grade students at Spanish Fort elementary school. Everyone loved learning about insects!
24 Oct…A paper by me and Steve Juliano was just accepted by Oecologia! The paper, which deals with the effects of pulsed detritus on container communities, builds off our past work examining the ecological theory surrounding species richness-abundance relationships.
14 Oct…We welcomed our newest addition, Ginny Catherine Yee, to the world this morning. Dad and mom are very proud.
7 Sept…Some non-mosquito related news. The dytiscid book proposal is now off to the publisher (Springer International). It is tentatively titled, Ecology, Systematics, and the Natural History of Predaceous Diving Beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). If accepted, the book will have 12 chapters covering a variety of topics on dytiscids that will be written by authors located all over the world, including many who took part in the symposium last year at EntSoc. We should get feedback before the end of the year.
6 Sept…The semester is off to a busy start. I am teaching entomology and starting things moving on the new grant. Mostly this means trying to hire a post doc and recruit some new students to join the lab. Also, we have lots of projects going on so hopefully we should have some good data soon. On that note, we sampled a couple of large tire piles in Waynesboro, MS. This project will hopefully allow me to revisit some of the ecological questions I am interested in regarding species richness, abundance, and productivity. At this site we also (re)discovered Culex coronator, a species that was abundant in 2009, but largely vanished in 2010. You can read more about the discovery in my blog here. Here is a photo of one of the sites (Francis in yellow, Jeff with the red hat, David sampling).
7 Oct…Received the word today that my book proposal on predaceous diving beetles has been formally accepted by Springer! This is a very exciting development and it should be a great experience.
6 Oct…Congrats to David, who successfully defended his masters thesis.
16 Sept…Field Trip! My entomology class took an afternoon/evening field trip to the Lake Thoreau Environmental Center. We found a lot of really cool insects, including a jumping bristletail! A few photos below.
16 Aug…It’s been a busy summer but we end the season with some great news that my NIH grant has finally been funded. This grant, which is focused on understanding how the environment affects communities of container mosquitoes, will keep us in tripour beakers and sugar pads for the next three years. I also will be looking to recruit a couple new graduate students and a post doc who will be directly involved in the grant. The fall semester, which looks very full, kicks off in one short week.
1 Sept…The new E3 schedule is out. The link is here.
12 Aug…David was our lone representative at ESA this year, held in hot and steamy Austin, TX.
9 June…I have started a blog wherein I will be posting items from the lab and from around the scientific world. You can visit it here.
16 May…Another spring semester is at an end. We are gearing up for the field season and hope to have some good news regarding NIH funding. With that in mind I have begun the process of searching for a post doc to join the lab. See the ad here.
30 April…Don participated in the 2011 5 Rivers Delta Family Fun day near Mobile, Al. Don gave a series of lectures on insects of the Gulf Coast and had lots of live critters for all to see.
19 April…Francis (below) represented the lab at the official coming out party for the Lake Thoreau Environmental Center at the Eubanks Preserve. This event was well attended and gave the lab a chance to meet with various stakeholders to talk about our mosquito research.
19 April…I am now on Research Gate. Visit me there.
18 April…Kris has formally accepted a position at the University of South Dakota to start his Ph.D. in the fall. Kris will be working in the lab of Dan Soluk where the endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly is a focus of research. Congrats to Kris and we all wish him well!
29 March…I paid a visit to Spanish Fort Elementary School to talk about insects with Mrs. McGough’s kindergarten class.
28 March…Elizabeth gave a great talk on her research project on salt tolerance in Aedes albopictus and A. aegypti during E3. Great job Elizabeth. Now write that paper!
17 March…Congratulations to Kris for successfully defending his masters thesis!
17 Feb…Our semester is off to a great albeit busy start. Elizabeth, David, and I gave talks at the Mississippi Academy of Sciences meeting held here on the USM campus. Everyone gave great talks. Now we can get back to work!
1 Jan…We say good bye to a productive 2010 and hello to 2011. We will be welcoming a new masters student, Jeff Skiff, who likely will work on mosquito ecology.
16 Dec…We had a wonderful and successful time at the 2010 Entomological Society of America meeting in San Diego. David, Kris, and Francis gave great talks, in addition to the two that I gave (including filling in for Anne Winters). I was very pleased with the dytiscid symposium, and it was great to finally meet all the participants as well as catching up with friends in the mosquito world. I will be leaving the symposium website up for a while and plan to morph it into a hub of dytiscid information. More news on that front to come.
26 Nov…With the semester winding down we are all looking forward to the upcoming break AND attending the 2010 EntSoc meeting in sunny San Diego! All lab experiments are pretty much complete and we hope to get caught up on data entry and manuscript writing over the break.
1 Nov…I am pleased to welcome a new student for the spring semester, Jeff Skiff, who completed his undergraduate work at Iowa State. Jeff will be getting settled in starting in January 2011.
21 Oct…Anne Winters (now at University of Exeter) has won the 2010 ESA Student Section Best Undergraduate Presentation Award. She received the award based on her talk at this year’s meeting in Pittsburgh. A very big congrats to Anne on this outstanding accomplishment!
18 Oct…Congratulations to Kris for winning the Mississippi Entomological Society Scholarship ($1000).
29 Sept…David successfully defended his masters prospectus. Good work David.
20 Sept…Don appeared (briefly) on Channel 7 WDAM to talk about Love Bugs (or the lack thereof). You can watch it here Video
7 Sept…The fall semester is off an running and there are lots of things going on. David and Kris continue to collect data on their masters projects, while Francis is busy with his first TA assignment and coming up with projects for his Ph.D.
30 Aug…We welcome some new undergraduate faces to the lab for the fall as well as a returning one. Bradley Hopkins and Thomas Bocek are getting experience on a variety of projects while Elizabeth Himel, who has worked in the lab the last two summers will be conducting a competition project in salt tolerance for Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti. This project is in conjuction with one of my fellow mosquito ecologists, Michael Reiskind at Oklahoma State.
7 Aug…Francis, Anne, Kris, and Don had a great time in Pittsburgh, PA attending the Ecological Society of America meeting.
28 July…The lab has been quite busy with field and lab projects. Both David and Kris have been collecting data for their masters thesis, and Francis has been busy exploring research ideas.
16 July…We hosted the Summer Science Camp for 4th-7th graders. The students had a good time examining insects and learning about their ecology.
6 June…Congratulations to Anne who has been accepted to attend the University of Exeter in England starting this fall. Anne will be pursing her M.Sc. in Evolutionary and Behavioral Ecology.
15 May…Congratulations to Anne on her graduation!
10 April…Congratulations to Kris for taking second place at the annual graduate student forum held in the department. Way to go Kris!
29 March…Don is happy to announce that his symposium titled, An Inordinate Neglect of Dytiscids: Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics of Predaceous Diving Beetles, has been accepted for the 2010 Entomological Society of America meeting in San Diego in December. This symposium truely will have an international focus, as contributors will be flying in from multiple countries, including Japan, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Canada, and Ireland. Don is pretty stoaked to be able to have been able to assemble this group of scientists who study this amazing group!
29 March….Congrats to Anne for getting her thesis approved by the Honor’s college!
18 March…David, Anne, and Don presented their work at the Mississippi Mosquito & Vector Control Association meeting in Pearl, MS. In addition to meeting some new people, we got several leads on tire pile sites around the state.
10 March…Wendy Varnado, from the state health department, came and visited the lab and gave a E3 seminar on some of her work cataloging the mosquitoes of Mississippi.
3 February… Congratulations to Kris for successfully passing the oral defense of his prospectus which will focus on mechanisms of coexistence for two species of dytiscids.
15 January…We welcomed Francis Ezakacha to the lab. Franics arrived from Nigeria and plans to work on mosquitoes in Mississippi.
16 December…Kris, David, and Don attended the Entomological Society of America meeting in Indianapolis, IN. Everyone gave great talks and we got a chance to catch up with colloborators and meet some new folks.