Don Cipollini (Committee Member), Thomas Rooney (Committee Member), John Stireman (Advisor)
Master of Science (MS)
The importance of ecological interactions in the origin and maintenance of species diversity remains unclear. The current study assesses how ecological interactions shape the process of evolutionary diversification using a gall midge-host plant system in Ohio involving the gall midge, Asteromyia carbonifera (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), and its goldenrod (Solidago) host-plants. A. carbonifera form four morphologically distinctive gall morphs and differ genetically. I studied phenology, host-plant specialization, and parasitism at three field sites in Southwestern Ohio. Phenology was assessed for twelve weeks while host-plant distribution and pressure from parasitoids were measured by monthly plot and rearing gall collections. Relative gall frequencies and eclosions were used to evaluate if temporal barriers exist (phenology) while host plant distributions were evaluated to observe if spatial barriers were present. Parasitism differences among morphs were also measured. Although phenology and host-plant preference were not significant, parasitism results revealed significantly distinctive patterns of parasitism among gall morphs.
Department or Program
Department of Biological Sciences
Year Degree Awarded
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