Research

We investigate factors that influence natural population abundance, focusing on species interactions and the evolution of properties that affect the potential for population growth. Most of our experimental work is done with container-breeding mosquito populations, particularly within the genera Ochlerotatus* and Aedes. The treehole habitat and its most common species provide a convenient system for addressing basic ecological and evolutionary questions.

Research problems. We have examined a variety of interactions within and between species. Basic ecological questions concern mechanisms for population regulation, consequences of interactions among different developmental stages to regulation, and the impact of species interactions on coexistence and extinction. Evolutionary questions focus on how population growth properties evolve, particularly those traits that result in variable length of life cycle stages. Much of our experimental work has dealt with the following specific topics:

Inhibition of Aedes and Ochlerotatus mosquito egg hatch by larvae

Competition between the North American native, Ochlerotatus triseriatus, and the invading Aedes albopictus

Predation by the mosquitoes, Toxorhynchites rutilus and nopheles barberi, on container-breeding Aedes and Ochlerotatus

Responses of egg-laying female mosquitoes to the density of larvae

Factors maintaining the highly variable timing of egg hatch in Ochlerotatus triseriatus mosquitoes.

Invasion ecology– tracking the course of mosquito invasions in North America and Bermuda

*Ochlerotatus is a new genus that includes triseriatus. It was not adopted until the late 90s, so many earlier references to the treehole mosquito use the name Aedes triseriatus. Consequently, you will find the old genus name in many of Livdahl’s publications, as well as in occasional spots in this web site that have yet not been detected and changed. And it’s not completely clear whether the name should be changed. At least one journal, J. Vector Ecol., does not accept the new name.