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 evolutionary ecology of water mites (Unionicola spp.) that live in association with various species of freshwater mussels. My research has addressed the effects that ectoparasitic larval mites have on their insect hosts, including their potential role in influencing host survival, reproduction, and fluctuating asymmetry. In addition, I have been examining the relationship between sex preferences and the transmission success of unionicolid larval mites that parasitize insects. Most recently, Dr. Brian Ernsting and I have been using molecular approaches to examine kinship and phylogenetic relationships among unionicolid mussel-mites using random amplified polymorphic (RAPD) DNA profiles and mitochondrial sequence data, respectively.

Unionicola foili from Utterbackia imbecillis

Selected Publications

Edwards, D. D. and M. F. Vidrine. 2006. Host specificity among Unionicola spp. (Acari: Unionicolidae) parasitizing freshwater mussels. Journal of Parasitology, 92 977-983. Pdf

Ernsting, B.R., D. D. Edwards, M. F. Vidrine, K. S. Myers, and C. M. Harmon. 2006. Phylogenetic relationships among species of the subgenus Parasitatax (Acari: Unionicolidae: Unionicola) based on DNA sequence of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene. International Journal of Acarology, 32 195-202. Pdf

Edwards, D. D. 2004. In search of fluctuating asymmetry: no evidence among Chironomus tentans (Diptera: Chironomidae) parasitized by the ectoparasitic water mite Unionicola foili (Acari: Unionicolidae). Acarologia, 44: 209-217.

Edwards, D. D., D. E. Deatherage, and B. R. Ernsting. 2004. Random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis of kinship within host-associated populations of the symbiotic water mite Unionicola foili (Acari: Unionicolidae). Exp. Appl. Acarol., 34:67-77 Pdf

Edwards, D. D. 2004. Effects of low pH and high temperature on hatching and survival of the water mite Unionicola foili (Acari: Unionicolidae). Proc. Indiana Acad. Sci. Proc.,113: 26-32. [Abstract].

Edwards, D. D. and H. Smith. 2003. Host sex preferences and transmission successs by the water mite Unionicola foili (Acari: Unionicolidae) parasitic on the midge Chironomus tentans (Diptera: Chironomidae). J. Parasitol., 89: 681-685. Pdf.

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. Pdf