Research Interests

My research has focused primarily on the ecology and evolution of organisms with symbiotic lifestyles. I have been particularly interested in addressing the potential role of host specificity in host race formation and speciation among populations of symbiotic water mites (Unionicola spp.) that live in association with various species of freshwater mussels. I have employed both allozyme and molecular techniques to distinguish among closely related species of unionicolid mussel-mites. My research has also addressed the effects that ectoparasitic larval mites have on their insect hosts, including their potential role in influencing host fluctuating asymmetry. In addition, I have been examining the relationship between sex preferences and the transmission success of unionicolid larval mites that parasitize chironomid dipterans. Most recently, I have been examining kinship relationships among unionicolid mussel-mites using random amplified polymorphic (RAPD) DNA profiles.

Selected Publications

Edwards, D. D. and M. Labhart. 2000. Genetic differences among host-associated populations of water mites (Acari: Unionicolidae: Unionicola): allozyme variation supports morphological differentiation. J. Parasitol., 86: 1008-1011.

Edwards, D. D. 1999. The behavioral responses by larvae of the water mite Unionicola foili (Acari: Unionicolidae) to gravity, light and host chemicals: adaptations for transmission success? Exp. Appl. Acarol., 23:817-826.

Edwards, D. D. The freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae) of Pigeon Creek, a small southwestern Indiana ributary of the Ohio River. Proc. Indiana Acad. Sci. Proc.,107: 79-84.

Edwards, D. D., R. Bogardus, and N. Wilhite. 1998. Geographic Differences in Host Specialization between the Symbiotic Water Mites Unionicola formosa and U. foili (Acari: Unionicolidae). In: Evolution and Ecology of the Acari. J. Briun, L. van der Geest, and M.W. Sabelis (eds.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

Edwards, D. D. and R. V. Dimock, Jr. 1997. Genetic differentiation between Unionicola formosa and U. foili (Acari: Unionicolidae): cryptic species of molluscan symbionts. Invert. Biol., 116: 124-133.

Weiberg, M and D. D. Edwards. 1997. Survival and reproductive output of Chironomus tentans (Diptera: Chironomidae) in response to parasitism by larval Unionicola foili (Acari: Unioniclidae). J. Parasitol., 83:173-175.