Current Lab Members
Raul F. Medina
PhD: Entomology, University of Maryland (2005)
MS: Entomology, University of Maryland (1999)
BS: Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (1995)
Phone: (979) 845-8304
My research focuses on population genetics and evolutionary ecology. In my laboratory we are assessing how common host-associated differentiation (HAD) is in nature as well as exploring the factors that may explain its existence. Host-associated differentiation is the formation of host-associated lineages. These host-associated lineages can occur in herbivorous insects associated with different host-plant species as well as in parasitoids associated with different host-plant complexes. HAD has been postulated as a process explaining insect staggering biodiversity thus, increasing our knowledge on HAD will improve our understanding of insect biodiversity. We are also interested in knowing how microevolutionary forces impact pest control practices in agro-ecosystems. Understanding how ecological interactions (e.g. plant-insect, predator-prey, parasitoid-host interactions) affect the genetic population structure (i.e., the genetic differentiation of populations) of insect pests and their predators and parasitoids will improve the way we control pest species in agro-ecosystems. At the moment my laboratory is studying how host-plant association, pheromone production, mating behavior and geographic factors may all influence the way in which insect populations are structured. My lab is also exploring how the number of hosts used by parasitoid species mediates their population genetic structure patterns.
Hey there, I’m Crys Wright, a Ph.D. student in the Medina lab. My research focuses on the phenology of the sugarcane aphid (Melanaphis sacchari) and its natural enemies on both grain sorghum and Johnson grass. I’m also doing some work on the Tawny crazy ant (Nylanderia fulva), and the cowpea aphid (Aphis craccivora). I’m very interested in integrated pest management and hope to apply what I learn the next few years to current pest control practices.
I graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology. After completing my undergraduate degree, I worked for a year at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge in Idaho. I work in both the Medina lab and the Lyme lab in the Veterinary Pathobiology Department. I am conducting research on the population genetics, behavior, and phenology of Ixodes scapularis, the main vector of Lyme disease.
I am interested in assessing the role mutualisms play in facilitating invasive species establishment success. I am also interested in the role genetic composition may play in how mutualisms are established. Currently I am investigating the internal bacterial composition or microbiome of sugarcane aphids (Melanaphis sacchari, SCA) and its potential to facilitate pest outbreaks. In addition, I am assessing the population genetic structure of another invasive pest the tawny crazy ant (Nylanderia fulva, TCA) across its US distribution. This research will allow for a better understanding of invasive species success by characterizing potential beneficial microbes and establish a foundation for assessing the role genetic composition plays in mutualisms among invasive pest species. For undergraduates interested in gaining research experience, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org