Bridging the transitions in insect life cycles


Collaborators:  Barbara Downes (Project leader), Barbara Peckarsky, Jill Lancaster, Paul Reich, Maria Alp, Andrea Encalada

Funding: Dyason Fellowship, University of Melbourne (2012-2013)

Species with complex life-cycles (having different stages [e.g.  larvae and adults] inhabiting different environments [e.g. terrestrial and freshwater]) comprise most of the world’s fauna and flora, but we understand little about controls on their populations. Working on more than one life cycle stage is challenging, so little is known about the critical transitions between stages (e.g. recruitment from juvenile to adult). Nevertheless, unravelling the primary factors that control population numbers of carefully chosen species will open the door to general models that can apply to species other than those examined. In a time of climate change and other environmental challenges, it has never been more imperative to advance our understanding of how the majority of the world’s species will respond to environmental change, both natural and human-induced. In this project, we plan to synthesize our current understandings of the links between different life stages of freshwater insects.