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Entomology: Personnel

Entomology Faculty

Kerry M. Oliver

Assistant Professor of Entomology
Athens Campus
Ph.D., University of Arizona, Tucson, 2005

Contact Information

Address: Department of Entomology
University of Georgia
413 Biological Sciences Building
Athens, GA 30602-2603

Phone: (706) 542-2311
Email: kmoliver@uga.edu

picture, Dr. Kerry Oliver


Aphidius
Aphidius attacking pea aphids. Photograph by Alex Wild.

My research focuses on symbiosis, with a particular interest in the evolutionary and ecological consequences of associations between insects and heritable microorganisms. Inherited microbes, those that are transmitted vertically from mother to offspring, can spread within host populations by providing benefits to hosts. Defense against natural enemies is one of the most exciting, and potentially widespread, beneficial effects recently discovered in insect-symbiont associations. In this emerging area of inquiry there is much to discover about the dynamics and distributions of defensive symbionts in natural populations, the genetic features of defensive symbionts, including molecular mechanisms of protection, and the impacts these symbionts exert on populations and communities. This lab uses a multidisciplinary approach, incorporating field studies, experimental laboratory assays and microscopy, as well as molecular, genomic and proteomic tools to investigate symbiont-based defense across scales ranging from molecules to populations and communities.

Lab Personnel

Kyungsun L. Kim, Research Professional II

Graduate Students

Stephanie Weldon      
Adam Martinez          
Hannah Dykstra (completed MS 2013)

Undergraduate Researchers

Matt Doremus
Laura Kraft
Khin Khine
Mac Morrison

Courses Taught

ENTO 4000/6000. General Entomology.
Functional anatomy and physiology, behavior, ecology, insects as vectors of pathogens, chemical and biological control of pests.
ENTO 8500. Insect Ecology.
Ecology of insects in natural and managed ecosystems.

Selected Publications

Martinez AJ, Weldon SR & Oliver KM (2013). Effects of parasitism on aphid nutritional and protective
symbioses. Molecular Ecology. doi: 10.1111/mec.12550. [Epub ahead of print]

Oliver KM & Russell JA (2013). Defensive symbiosis in the real world—framing studies on the diversity and maintenance of protective bacteria in natural insect populations. Functional Ecology. Published online June 2013: DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12133

Russell JA, Weldon S, Smith D, Kim KL, Hu Y, Lukasik P, Doll S, Anastopoulos I, Novin M, and Oliver KM (2013) Uncovering symbiont-driven genetic diversity across North American pea aphids. Molecular Ecology 22: 2045-2059.

Weldon SR, Strand MR & Oliver KM (2013). Phage loss and the breakdown of a defensive
symbiosis. Proceedings of the Royal Society London Series B. 280 (1751)

Oliver KM, Noge K, Huang EM, Campos JM, Becerra JX & Hunter MS (2012) Parasitic wasp responses to symbiont-based defense. BMC Biology 10:11

Oliver, K. M., Degnan, P. H., Burke, G. R. & Moran, N. A. 2010. Facultative symbionts of aphids and the horizontal transfer of ecologically important traits. Ann. Review of Entomology 55, 247–266.

Oliver, K. M., Degnan, P. H., Hunter, M.S. & Moran, N. A. 2009. Bacteriophages encode factors required for protection in a symbiotic mutualism. Science 325, 992-994.

Oliver, K. M. & Moran, N. A. 2009. Defensive symbionts in aphids and other insects in White, J. F. & Torres, M. S. Defensive mutualism in microbial symbiosis. London: Taylor & Francis.

Oliver, K. M., Campos, J., Moran, N. A. & Hunter, M. S. 2008. Population dynamics of defensive symbionts in aphids. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences 275, 293-299.

Oliver, K. M., Moran, N. A. & Hunter, M. S. 2006. Costs and benefits of a superinfection of facultative symbionts in aphids. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences 273, 1273-1280.

Oliver, K. M., Moran, N. A. & Hunter, M. S. 2005. Variation in resistance to parasitism in aphids is due to symbionts not host genotype. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102, 12795-12800.

Oliver, K. M., Russell, J. A., Moran, N. A. & Hunter, M. S. 2003. Facultative bacterial symbionts in aphids confer resistance to parasitic wasps. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 100, 1803-1807.

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