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School of Biological Sciences Seminar Series, March 19

Ximena Bernal at a desk

Ximena Bernal

Ximena Bernal, an assistant professor in the department of biological sciences at Purdue University, will give a presentation on her research work on midges. Her presentation, “Unraveling the Ecology and Evolution of Interspecific Eavesdropping: Lessons From Frog-Biting Midges,” will be held from 4–5 p.m. March 19 in 210 Moulton Hall.

Presentation abstract

Over the last 50 years, it has become increasingly obvious that predators and parasites that eavesdrop on their victims’ mating signals are common and widespread across taxonomic groups and sensory modalities. There is currently, however, no underlying framework to understand the ecological consequences and evolutionary trajectories of species with this unique behavioral strategy. Bernal strives to fill this gap investigating frog-biting midges (Corethrella spp), a family of hematophagous insects that exploit the communication system of anurans. In this seminar Bernal will examine the sensory ecology of the midges and the selective pressures they impose on their victims ultimately discussing the cascade effects of these eavesdropper-victim interactions across the community.