Donald A. Yee

Associate Professor

Teaching interests (course material is available via the Yee lab site)

BSC 103 Biology and Society

BSC 201/L General Zoology

BSC 340 Introductory Ecology

BSC 411/511/L Entomology

BSC 648 Aquatic Insect Ecology

BSC 600 Graduate Professional Development

Visit the Yee lab of Aquatic Insect Ecology

Current Graduate Students

Research Interests

Insects are the dominant life form on Earth, representing more than 75% of all identified species. My lab focuses on aquatic community/population ecology with questions related to species interactions, food web dynamics, predator-prey interactions, and basic ecology of medically important and predatory taxa. Although the main focus the lab has been on understanding the community and population ecology of medically important container mosquitoes, we also use small aquatic habitats as model systems to test ecological theory, and quantify the effects of multiple predators on aquatic communities with a focus on predaceous diving beetles in wetlands. Our work is not limited to any one venue to answer ecological questions, as we conduct research under laboratory conditions, using large field observational studies, and in large experimental arrays.

Mosquito Ecology

A multitude of animal and human diseases are vectored by adult mosquitoes, the larvae of which inhabit aquatic containers (e.g., tree holes, discarded automobile tires). Because they are relatively easy to maintain in the laboratory and obtain and manipulate in the field they are an ideal study animal for testing ecological theories related to community organization and population dynamics. Specifically, research in my lab focuses on questions related to nutrient stoichiometry, spatial and temporal population patterns, colonization and dispersal behavior, feeding behavior as it relates to competitive interactions, phenotypic plasticity in response to environmental variation, and the influence of invasive species (e.g., Aedes albopictus, Culex coronator) on natives (e.g., Aedes triseriatus, Culex quinquefasciatus).

Some selected recent publications on the ecology of container mosquitoes

Yee, DA, MG Kaufman, & NF Ezeakacha. 2015. Patterns of nutrient stoichiometry between sexes of co-occurring species of container mosquitoes reared on different ratios of animal and plant detritus. PLoS ONE (accepted)

Yee, DA, AA Abuzeineh, NF Ezeakacha, SS Schelble, WC Glasgow, SD Flanagan, JJ Skiff, A Reeves, and K Kuehn. 2015. Mosquito larvae in tires from Mississippi, U.S.A.: the efficacy of abiotic and biotic parameters in predicting spatial and temporal patterns of mosquito populations and communities. Journal of Medical Entomology 52: 394-407

Allgood, A & DA Yee. 2014. Influence of resource levels, organic compounds, and laboratory colonization on interspecific competition between Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae). Medical and Veterinary Entomology 28: 273-286

Yee, DA, SM Vamosi, & SA Juliano. 2012. Seasonal photoperiods alter developmental time and mass of an invasive mosquito, Aedes albopictus(Diptera: Culicidae), across its north-south range in the United States. Journal of Medical Entomology 49: 825-832

Winters, AE & DA Yee. 2012. Variation in performance of two co-occurring mosquito species across diverse resource environments: insights from nutrient and stable isotope analyses. Ecological Entomology 37: 56-64

Yee, DA, JM Kneitel, & SA Juliano. 2010. Environmental correlates of abundances of mosquito species and stages in discarded vehicle tires. Journal of Medical Entomology 47:53-62

Kaufman, MG, K Pelz-Stelinski, DA Yee, SA Juliano, P Ostrom, & ED Walker. 2010. Stable isotope analysis reveals detrital resource base sources of the tree hole mosquito, Ochlerotatus triseriatus. Ecological Entomology 35:586-593

Yee, DA. 2008. Tires as habitats for mosquitoes : a review of studies within the eastern United States. Journal of Medical Entomology 45:581-593

Ecological Theory

A central focus of ecology has been in understanding the factors that control the number of species within a habitat. One of my main interests has focused on understanding the factors that control species richness in small aquatic microsystems. The container systems I work in are dominated by aquatic diptera (including medically important mosquitoes), but contain a number of non-dipteran insect larvae (e.g., Coleoptera) non-insects (e.g., copepods, annelids), and microorganisms (protozoans, fungi, bacteria). In several studies I have examined the relationship between productivity, abundance, and species richness of container species.

Some recent publications testing ecological theory

Yee, DA & SA Juliano. 2012. Concurrent effects of resource pulse amount, type, and frequency on community and population properties of consumers in detritus-based systems. Oecologia 169: 511-522

Yee, DA, SH Yee, JM Kneitel, & SA Juliano. 2007. Richness-productivity relationships between trophic levels in a detritus-based system: significance of abundance and trophic linkage. Oecologia 154:377-385

Yee, DA, MG Kaufman, & SA Juliano. 2007. The significance of ratios of detritus types and microorganism productivity to competitive interactions between aquatic insect detritivores. Journal of Animal Ecology 76:1105-1115 Yee, DA, & SA Juliano. 2007. Abundance matters. A field experiment testing the more individuals hypothesis for richness-productivity relationships. Oecologia 153:153-162

Predaceous diving beetles

These predatory beetles, also known as dytiscids (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae), occur in various water bodies (e.g., ponds, streams, ditches) across the world. Although this family is composed of about 4,200 species world-wide, there exists little ecological knowledge about this cosmopolitan group. Larvae and adults all are predaceous, making them an important component of the aquatic food webs in which they occur.

Some recent publications on the ecology of predaceous diving beetles

Yee, DA (editor). 2014. Ecology, Systematics, and the Natural History of Predaceous Diving Beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Springer, The Netherlands

Pitcher, KA & DA Yee. 2014. Habitat use, prey consumption, and dispersal responses as potential coexistence mechanisms using two morphologically similar species of predaceous diving beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 107: 582-591

Yee, DA, SM O'Regan, B Wohlfahrt, & SM Vamosi. 2013. Variation in prey-specific consumption rates and patterns of field co-occurrence for two larval predaceous diving beetles. Hydrobiologia 718: 17-25

Yee, DA, S Taylor, & SM Vamosi. 2009. Beetle and plant density as cues initiating dispersal in two species of adult predaceous diving beetles. Oecologia 160:25-36