AQUATIC LARVAL INSECT PHYSIOLOGY
The larval stages of many insects inhabit lakes, ponds, marshes, rivers and streams and these insects are important for many reasons. For example, some help to keep water systems clean by feeding on decaying organic matter (vegetation and/or animal bodies) and organic wastes (fecal material). Some are important food sources for other animals (fish), and the land dwelling adults of some are responsible for spreading disease (mosquitoes, black flies). The survival of these insects is challenged by changes in the water chemistry of their homes which occur because of weather patterns and human activities. Our laboratory studies the fundamental physiological mechanisms in these insects which allow them to adjust to these changes in their aquatic homes thereby permitting them to survive when faced with these challenges.