My research focuses on two overlapping dimensions of coupled human-natural environment systems:
I address questions that are relevant to a range of disciplines, including population and community ecology, global change biology, watershed management, integrated pest management, and public health. My interdisciplinary approach is grounded within the emerging discipline of Ecology and Health (or EcoHealth). I collaborate with numerous researchers, extension professionals, and community partners on projects funded by state and federal grants, including those from NSF, USDA-NIFA, EPA-STAR, and NOAA.
ENST 436 Emerging Environmental Concerns (3 credits) (Spring)
Examine new and potential environmental concerns likely to shape humanity in the 21st century. Emphasis will be on studying the intrinsic links between ecosystem health and human well-being. Topics will include climate change, resource consumption, biodiversity change, infectious diseases, non-traditional pollutants, and other complex and significant environmental concerns.
ENST689R Special Topics: Invasive Ecology (1-3 credits) (Fall)
Examine ecological, evolutionary, and anthropogenic processes facilitating or resisting biological invasions, and consider their environmental, economic, and human health impacts. Consider various management strategies to mitigate invasions and identify areas of future research. Field trips and detailed discussion of recent findings and controversies in the literature will help illustrate fundamental concepts of invasions among various ecosystems.
ENST499/699F Special Topics: Pests and Disease-Vectors in Human-made Environments: Sustainable Management and Future Research (2 credits) (Fall)
An interdisciplinary study of pests and vectors in human-made landscapes, with a focus on mosquitoes and other arthropods in the temperate US. Focus will be placed on social and environmental factors affecting infestations and their management, and exploration of important ecological, economic, and health impacts of infestation, key research questions, and control strategies in the 21st century. Successful course completion will result in receiving a Sustainable Pest Control Certificate.
Isik Unlu, P.T. Leisnham, G.M. Williams, K. Klingler, G.W. Dow, N. Kirchoff*, S. Jin*, N. DeLisi, K. Montenegro, and A. Faraji. 2015. Effects of a red marker dye on Aedes and Culex mosquitoes: Are there implications for operational mosquito control? American Mosquito Control Association 31:375-379.
Smith, D.*, T.Z. Freed*, and P.T. Leisnham. 2015. Hydrologic disturbance affects competition between Aedes mosquitoes via changes in leaf litter. PLoS ONE 10: e0128956.
LaDeau, S.L., B.F. Allan, P.T. Leisnham, and M. Z. Levy. 2015. The ecological foundations of transmission potential and vector-borne disease in urban landscapes. Functional Ecology 29: 889-901.
Becker, B.*, P.T. Leisnham, S.L. LaDeau. 2014. Block-level differences in mosquito abundance driven by interactions between human behavior and climate. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 11: 3256-3270. DOI:10.3390/ijerph110303256.
Leisnham, P.T., S.L. LaDeau, S.A. Juliano. 2014. Spatial and temporal habitat segregation of mosquitoes in urban Florida. PloS ONE 9(3): e91655.
Kesavaraju, B., P.T. Leisnham, S. Keane*, N. Delisi*, R. Pozzatti*. 2014. Interspecific competition between Aedes albopictus and A. sierrensis: Potential for competitive displacement in the western Unit. PLoS ONE 9(2): e89698.
Freed, T.Z.*, P.T. Leisnham. 2014. Roles of spatial partitioning, competition, and predation in the North America invasion of the mosquito Aedes albopictus. Oecologia. DOI:10.1007/s00442-014-2909-7 (Online EPub).
Brady, O.J., M.A. Johansson, C.A. Guerra, S. Bhatt, N. Golding, D.M. Pigott, H. Delatte, M.G. Grech, P.T. Leisnham, R. Maciel-de-Freitas, L.M. Styer, D.L. Smith, T.W. Scott, P.W. Gething, S.I. Hay. 2013. Modelling adult Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus survival at different temperatures in laboratory and field settings. Parasites and Vectors 6: 351 DOI: 10.1186/1756-3305-6-351.
Dowling, Z.*, P. Armbruster, S. LaDeau, and P.T. Leisnham. 2013. Socioeconomic status affects mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae) larval habitat with implications for vector control. Journal of Medical Entomology 50: 764-772. DOI: 10.1603/ME12250.
Smith, C. D.*, A. H. Baldwin, J. Sullivan, and P.T. Leisnham. 2013. Effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on competition between the mosquitoes Aedes albopictus and Ae. triseriatus through changes in litter quality and production. Journal of Medical Entomology 50: 521-532; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/ME12149.
LaDeau, S.ƚ, P.T. Leisnhamƚ, D. Biehler, and D. Bodner*. 2013. The (re)emergence of mosquito-borne disease in temperate cities: Managing mosquitoes in socioeconomically diverse landscapes. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 10: 1505-1526; DOI:10.3390/ijerph10041505.
Dowling, Z.*, P. Armbruster, S. LaDeau, M. DeCotiis, J. Mottley, P.T. Leisnham. 2013. Linking mosquito infestation to resident socioeconomic status, knowledge, and source reduction practices in suburban Washington, DC. EcoHealth: 10:36-47. DOI: 10.1007/s10393-013-0818-6.
Leisnham, P.T. and S.A. Juliano. 2012. Global change and LaCrosse virus: Impacts of climate change, land use change and biological invasion on the ecology of mosquito vectors. EcoHealth 9: 217-228.
Leisnham, P.T., L. Towler*, and S.A. Juliano. 2011. Evolution of increased photoperiodic diapause aides invasion success of the mosquito Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 104: 1309-1318.
Leisnham, P.T. and S. Sandoval-Mohapatra*. 2011. Mosquitoes associated with ditch-plugged and control tidal salt marshes on the Delmarva Peninsula. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 8: 3099-3113.
Leisnham, P.T. 2011. Invasion of the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus. In: Francis R. (ed) A Handbook of Global Freshwater Invasive Species, pp. 137–148, London: Earthscan Publishers.
Leisnham, P.T. 2011 Vulnerable populations and regions. In: Nriagu J.O. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Environmental Health, volume 5, pp. 705–714, Burlington: Elsevier.
Leisnham, P.T. and S.A. Juliano. 2010. Interpopulation differences in competitive effect and response of the mosquito Aedes aegypti and resistance to invasion by a superior competitor. Oecologia 164: 221-230.
Leisnham, P.T. L.P. Lounibos, G.F. O’Meara, and S.A. Juliano. 2009. Interpopulation divergence in competition interactions of the mosquito Aedes albopictus. Ecology 90: 2405-2413.
Leisnham, P.T. and S.A. Juliano. 2009. Spatial and temporal patterns of coexistence between competing Aedes mosquitoes in urban Florida. Oecologia 160: 343-352
Leisnham, P.T. and Slaney, D.P. 2009. Urbanization and the increasing threat from mosquito-borne diseases: linking human well-being with ecosystem health. In: De Smet, L.M. (ed) Focus on Urbanization Trends, pp. 47-82, Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Leisnham P.T., Sala, L.M. and Juliano, S.A. 2008. Geographic variation in survival and reproductive tactics of the mosquito, Aedes albopictus. Journal of Medical Entomology 45: 210-221.
Leisnham, P.T., Slaney, D.P, Lester, P.J., Weinstein, P. and Heath, A.C.G 2007. Mosquito density, associated macroinvertebrate biodiversity, and water chemistry in water-filled containers: Relationships to landuse. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 37: 203-218.Leisnham, P.T., Lester, P.J., Slaney, D.P. and Weinstein, P. 2006. The relationships between landuse, temperature and mosquito density in artificial container habitats in the Kapiti-Horowhenua region, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 40: 285-297. Leisnham, P.T., Slaney, D.P., Lester, P.J. and Weinstein, P. 2005. Increased mosquito densities from larval habitats in modified landuses in the Kapiti region, New Zealand: vegetation, water quality and predators as associated environmental factors. EcoHealth 2: 1-10. Leisnham, P.T., Slaney, D.P., Lester, P.J. and Weinstein, P. 2005. Evaluation of two dipping methods for sampling immature Culex and Ochlerotatus mosquitoes from artificial containers. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 39: 1233-1241. Leisnham, P.T., Lester, P.J., Slaney, D.P. and Weinstein, P. 2004. Anthropogenic environmental change increases container-breeding mosquito productivity: a case study from New Zealand lowland swamp forest. EcoHealth 1: 306-316. Leisnham, P.T. and Jamieson, I.G. 2004. The relationship between male head size and mating opportunity in harem-defence, polygynous tree weta Hemideina maori (Orthoptera: Anostostomatidae). New Zealand Journal of Ecology 28: 1-8. Leisnham, P.T., Cameron, C. and Jamieson, I.G. 2003. Life cycle, survival rates and longevity of an alpine weta Hemideina maori (Orthoptera: Anostostomatidae) determined using mark-recapture analysis. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 27: 191-200. Leisnham, P.T. and Jamieson, I.G. 2002. Metapopulation dynamics of a flightless alpine insect Hemideina maori in a naturally fragmented habitat. Ecological Entomology 27: 574-580.
*Student AuthorƚEqual Authorship
The Ecology and Health Lab studies ecological patterns and processes that affect plant, animal and human populations. We consist of a vibrant multidisciplinary team lead by Dr. Paul Leisnham, and that consists of graduate students from ENST, MEES and BEES graduate programs and undergraduate assistants.
Because human and ecosystem health are intrinsically linked, we are interested in processes that are affected both by human disruptions (e.g., climate change, land use change, and globalization) and that present social, economic, and health risks. Environmental change provides a great opportunity to ask both applied and basic science questions.
From a practical perspective, understanding changing environments is vital for alleviating undesirable ecological and health effects, and to exploit potential positive effects. From a basic perspective, environmental change provides a great opportunity to study nonequilibrium systems and thus test hypotheses of how physical and biotic interactions affect all ecological units, from individual species through to ecosystem processes.
Most of our research focuses on the ecology of native and invasive mosquitoes in water-filled containers, wetlands, and drainage systems. We are kindly funded by state and federal agencies, including the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, USGS, USDA, and NSF. We also enjoy collaborate with professionals within UMD and external institutions.
The lab has recently been funded for a project that studies socioeconomic and ecological determinants of mosquito production in urban neighborhoods so that education outreach can more effectively help households minimize their risk to mosquito-borne diseases, such as West Nile encephalitis. Another project involves testing design features of retention and detention ponds so that mosquito production can be minimized in residential neighborhoods. Emergent wetland plants may facilitate or act as barriers to mosquito production by altering food resources or refuge from predators. Knowing how plants affect mosquito production why inform ecological restoration and stormwater management.