Ecologist Todd Livdahl and his research students have investigated species interactions, with a focus on mosquitoes that develop within small bodies of water. Mosquito invasions, and the impact of invaders on native species, offer unique opportunities to study interactions such as competition, predator-prey and host parasite relationships.
This research group has had a long series of grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, most recently to test the idea of “host dilution,” in which the diversity of host species is hypothesized to have a detrimental influence on the success of a parasite.
Livdahl has studied interactions among several different mosquito species, with a focus on Ochlerotatus triseriatus and other treehole dwelling native species, and invasive species, including Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus, and Oc. japonicus.
Invasions by mosquitoes have occurred through the importation of used tires for recycling purposes. Along with new mosquitoes, parasites of mosquitoes have also arrived, and some of these new species interactions can have effects on resident species of mosquitoes as well as on the diseases that mosquitoes carry.