John McCreadie's Research Area


My research interests lie in all areas of insect ecology and biology. Current work includes studies in community structure, biodiversity, faunistics and symbiosis. My major current research projects are as follows

Community ecology of insects: This research focuses on establishing empirical and theoretical relationships between habitat parameters and species distributions. Of particular interest is the relationship between the determinants of distribution and scale (from habitat patch to continent).

Symbiotic interactions: Parasitism, mutualism and commensalism can be view as a continuum of effects that two species experience when living in close association with one another, i.e., symbiotic interactions are dynamic. Using a trichomycetes (fungus)-larval black fly (dipteran) model, I am investigating the dynamic nature of this symbiotic association in aquatic habitats. In collaboration with Audi Byrne (University of South Alabama), models are being developed to explain this dynamic. Research also focuses on the ecology, host specificity, and faunistics of other insect symbiotes including nematodes and microsporidians.

Biodiversity: A common goal shared by systematists, evolutionary biologists, and ecologists is to understand how biodiversity is generated and maintained. Ecological traits have the ability to serve as powerful tools for the detection of biodiversity that otherwise might be missed. Using black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae) this work explores the relationship between niche breath of morphological defined species and hidden or cryptic species. This work has just been funded by NSF ($498,863, Adler, McCreadie, Moulton). Given cryptic species are common in animals, this work has broad applications.

The North American larval black fly data-base: Black flies (Simuliidae) are a worldwide group of more than 2,000 species of blood-feeding insects that breed in flowing water. The purpose of this project is to compile all published and unpublished larval black fly collection records from North America into a single database. Once this task is complete a variety of questions can be addressed such as: 1 ) how does species richness change across different regions of North America, 2) what is the influence of local versus regional effects on species richness, 3) what factors best predict distribution within a limited geographic area, and 4) which land classification (e.g., ecoregion, floristic province, soil type) best explains species distributions across North America.

Total insect bio-inventory project (TIBP) of the Mobile/Tensaw Delta: This is a long term research program projected to take approximately 20 years. The primary goals of the TIBP are to: 1) produce a comprehensive bio-inventory of the insect fauna in the Mobile / Tensaw Delta, 2) detect spatial patterns in diversity, and 3) provide a reference collection of Delta insects. The Delta is one of largest, intact, wetland ecosystems in the United States although most of its biota is poorly known. Accordingly, any bio-inventory of the Delta would produce considerable information on both community structure and function of large river ecosystems. To date, my research on the Delta and surrounding areas of coastal Alabama has lead to the discovery of dozens of new insect species with many more species waiting to be discovered.

Recent Publications

Daniel CE, McCreadie JW. 2014. Assessment of Mercury accumulation in the water column, stream sediments and larval black fly (Diptera: Simuliidae) tissue in the coastal streams of Alabama, USA. Journal of Water, Soil and Air Pollution, in press

McCreadie JW, Bedwell C. 2014. Species composition of local riffle beetle assemblages in small coastal streams of the Gulf of Mexico: the influences of local and regional factors. Aquatic Ecology, in press

McCreadie JW, Bedwell CR. 2013. Patterns of co-occurrence of stream insects and an examination of a causal mechanism: ecological checkerboard or habitat checkerboard ? Insect Conservation and Diversity. 6, 105–113.

McCreadie JW, Adler PH. 2012. The roles of abiotic factors, dispersal, and species interactions in structuring stream assemblages of black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae). Aquatic Biosystems. 8, doi: 10.1186/2046-9063-8-14 (Editor's Pick).

McCreadie JW, Adler PH, Larson R. 2012. Variation in larval fitness of a black fly species over heterogeneous habitats. Aquatic Insects. 34: 143-150.

Wagner R , Adler, PH. McCreadie JW. 2012. Description of a new species and redescriptions of two known species of the genus Telmatoscopus EATON (Diptera: Psychodidae) from Alabama, USA. Studia dipterologica, in press

McCreadie JW, Adler PH and Beard CE. 2011. Ecology of Symbioites of larval black flie(Diptera: Simuliidae): distribution, diversity and scale. Environmental Entomology 40: 289-302.

Neldler MP, Beard CE and McCreadie JW. 2010. Seasonality and host usage of trichomycetes in larval black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae) of southern Alabama, USA. Fungal Ecology 3: 43- 48.

Adler PH and McCreadie JW. 2009. Black Flies. Medical and Veterinary Entomology. In: Medical and Veterinary Entomology (2nd ed) Mullens G, Durden L (eds). Academic Press.

Benton EP and McCreadie JW. 2009. A preliminary survey of the Fulgoroidea (Auchenorrhyncha) of coastal Alabama. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 111:354-360.

Neldler MP, McCreadie JW and Beard CE. 2009. Predicting occurrence of the fungal symbiote Harplella colonizing black fly larvae in coastal streams of Alabama and Mississippi, USA. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, in press.

Nelder MP, McCreadie JW and Major CS. 2009. Blow Flies Visiting Decaying Alligators: Is Succession Synchronous or Asynchronous? Psyche. doi:10.1155/2009/575362

Vojvodic S and McCreadie JW. 2009. Morphological differences of symbiotic fungi Smittium culisetae (Harpellales: Legeriomycetaceae) in different Dipteran hosts. Mycological Research, in press.

McCreadie JW and Adler PH, 2008. Spatial distribution of rare species in lotic habitats. Insect Conservation and Diversity. 1: 127–134. (Editor's Choice).

Vojvodic S and McCreadie JW. 2008. Do different species of Smittium (Harpellales, Legeriomycetaceae) influence each other in the host gut? Mycological Research. 112: 1409-1413.

Current Graduate Students:

Chelsea Daniels, 2011- Mercury levels and the association with aquatic insect diversity in coastal streams of Alabama.

Rachel Ruttley. 2010 - Habitat selection as a means to detect sibling species in black flies (Diptera: Simuiidae).

Previous Graduate Students:

Barwary Z, 2010. The vertical stratification of blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae)

Bedwell CR, 2009 . The ecology of aquatic insects of Alabama's coastal streams.

Benton EP, 2006. Landscape ecology of insects over heterogeneous habitats from coastal Alabama. 168 pp.

Vojvodic S, 2006. The development of Trichomycetes (Zygomycota) from the genus Smittium in larval black flies

Nelder MP 2003. The Ecology of Trichomycete (Zygomycota) fungi inhabiting black fly larvae (Diptera: Simuliidae) of coastal Alabama.

Cranford MM, 2002. Seasonally ponded isolated wetlands of Grand Bay Savanna, Mississippi.

Ihle DT, 2002. Spatial and temporal distributional ecology of waterscorpions (Hemiptera: Nepidae) in the Mobile/Tensaw Delta


Download a copy of the TOTAL INSECT BIO-INVENTORY PROJECT OF THE MOBILE TENSAW DELTA by clicking the icon below.



list updated on 7/8/09

Current Funding

Co-PI) Discovery and Prediction of Hidden Biodiversity in Black Flies (Diptera: Simuliidae)

National Science Foundation. $498,863. 10/09-09/12