Janice Pereira - Animal/Plant Interaction Lab

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

In the plant-insect interactions lab at SERC I study interactions between three organisms: the Sea Shore Mallow - a native swamp plant; a fly that lives within its stems; and a wasp parasitoid that lives in the fly. The adult fly (a gall midge) invades by using its ovipositer to lay eggs in the central part of the stem causing it to swell up to form a gall. The larvae hatch and feed on living plant tissue. At some point during larval development, a parasitoid seeks out the plant, either visually or by chemical cues, and lays her eggs within the developing fly. I study the variation of gall size and length within a site and also between sites around SERC. The involves collecting and dissecting many falls and identifying the numbers and types of organisms living inside.

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