“My project as an undergraduate was looking at the effects of predation cues. So these are chemical cues that are given off by prey and predator.
This guy right here is the Toxorhynchites. He is a predator mosquito in the larval form. The Toxorhynchites eats the prey species Aedes triseriatus and Aedes japonicas (an invasive species); and all release chemical cues. There were conflicting results in the literature as to whether the invasive mosquito actually responded to chemical cues or not.
I wanted to see with our invasive mosquito, if there were any differences in prey vulnerability because of predation cues. I felt strongly that the whole story wasn't told about habitat structure, so I added that element. After I got to do my experiment, Katie and I went over our results, just last weekend. It was really exciting. If you would like to take a look at my p value*, literally so good. I think I have seven or eight significant effects happening in this experiment. That was the pinnacle moment. I was like, oh my God, this is so exciting!
Katie invited me to go out to the Entomological Society. I'll be going to Vancouver in November and getting to present at their annual meeting. This is my own experiment. I came up with this myself and things happened and it was important. I'm very happy!”
*p value: a statistical measurement of how likely results are not due to chance
Lexie was a mentor for both Kim Medley and Katie Westby's Mosquito Team and Solny Adalsteinsson's Tick & Wildlife Eco team during summer 2018. Learn more about the Mosquito Team's urban ecology research here and their container mosquito research here. Learn more about Solny's prescribed fire and tick-borne disease ecology research here.