Student-Faculty Team Publishes Study on Invasive Species
The work of four SUNY Oswego student researchers and a faculty member tracking and potentially combatting an invasive fruit fly recently earned publication in the Zoological Science section of PeerJ, an open access, peer-reviewed journal.
Assistant Professor Peter Newell in the department of biological sciences led the study, titled “The microbiota of Drosophila suzukii influences the larval development of Drosophila melanogaster,” which spanned two years and included contributions from four undergraduate students: Gabrielle Solomon ’18, Hiruni Dodangoda ’21, Rita Ntim-Gyakari ’20 and Tylea McCarthy-Walker ’20.
Solomon trapped and identified Drosophila suzukii, an invasive species of fruit fly that has been damaging fruit crops throughout North America. When she caught her first specimens at Rice Creek Field Station, it was the first reported sighting in Oswego County.
From there the research moved into the lab, where Solomon sampled and analyzed the microorganisms associated with the insects. The students tested whether the microbes from D. suzukii had an impact on the growth and development of the common fruit fly, D. melanogaster.
“The two species compete for habitat, and the microbiome may be an important dimension of this interaction,” Newell said. “By gaining a better understanding of interactions between species, this research may help control populations of D. suzukii, which are having a negative impact on fruit growers in New York state and beyond.”
The research was also supported by the Rice Creek Associates, the Possibility Scholars program and the Office of Research and Individualized Student Experiences, which receives support from The Fund for Oswego.
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