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


The Ticks of Alabama: The state of Alabama like most other states, has experienced an increased incidence of tick-borne diseases affecting humans, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). Presently, there is no continuous active state-wide surveillance program in place. Hence, the risk of the exposure to humans tick-borne diseases in Alabama is poorly understood. My research -- in collaboration with Jonathan Rayner (Microbiology and Immunology, USA) Ryan Wood (Microbiology and Immunology, USA) and Joel Borden (Biology, USA) -- is to extend our basic knowledge of what species of ticks are present in Alabama and what pathogens they carry. All ticks collected are screened for 22 known species and strains of tick-borne diseases utilizing molecular approaches that provide the greatest sensitivity for detecting pathogens in pools of ticks.


Insect Ecology:  Much of my research has focused on the ecology of stream insects, with one group of particular interest, the black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae).  In 2004 a new species, Helodon mccreadiei, was named in recognition of my contribution to the study of black flies. My research has been undertaken in Canada, the United States, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador and the Galapagos. Research in Ecuador and the Galapagos was recently funded by the National Geographic Society. Although my research has followed several different lines of inquiry, the  unifying theme is to understand basic , but often poorly understood processes — Why are certain insect species found in one place but not another? How does the environment influence their distribution? How do insects interact with other species? What can insects tell us about how life is organized on our planet?

Curation: In the spring of 2002 I established the University of South Alabama Arthropod Depository (USAAD) to house representative insect specimens that have been, and will continue to be, collected in Coastal Alabama. A reference collection is critical to every research and teaching program involving insects, and is often a centerpiece for institutions of higher learning.  It serves as a permanent information and retrieval system, analogous to a library, that includes actual specimens and important data about each specimen. The USAAD at present can house 15,000 vials of specimens and a similar number of pinned specimens. This depository will provide future generations of researchers with an indispensable reference tool.


Recent Publications

McCreadie JW, Adler PH. 2021. The general architecture of black
fly–parasite interactions: Parasitism in lotic systems at a
continental scale. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology.

McCreadie JW, Hamada N, Maria E. Grillet ME, Adler PH. 2021. A stream
by any other name: does β-diversity differ between Nearctic and
Neotropical streams? Hydrobiologia (in press)

McCarty E, Nichols E, McCreadie J, Grant J. 2019. Assessment of
Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Sampling Methods for Nonregulatory Water
Quality Programs. doi:10.2134

McCreadie JW, Adler PH. 2019 Spatial distributions of rare and common species in a widespread group of stream insects. Freshwater Science. In Press

McCreadie JW, Adler PH. 2018. Patterns of regional beta diversity in a widespread group of North American aquatic insects. Freshwater Science. 37: 631-639.

Adler PH, Borkent A, Hamada N and McCreadie JW. 2017. Biodiversity of Simulium metallicum sensu lato (Diptera: Simuliidae), a complex of Neotropical vectors associated with human onchocerciasis. Acta Tropica 171: 171 - 179.

McCreadie JW, Hamada N, Grillet ME and Adler PH. 2017. Alpha richness and niche breadth of a widespread group of aquatic insects in Nearctic and Neotropical streams. Freshwater Biology. 62: 329-339.

McCreadie JW, Williams RH, Stutsman S, Finn DS and Adler PH. 2017. The influence of habitat heterogeneity and latitude on gamma diversity of the Nearctic Simuliidae, a ubiquitous group of stream-dwelling insects. Insect Science DOI: 10.1111/1744-7917.12442

Adler PH, Inci A, Yildirim A, Duzlu O, McCreadie JW, Kúdela M, Khazeni A, Brúderová T, Seitz, Takaoka H, Otsuka Y and Bass JR. 2015. Are black flies of the subgenus Wilhelmia (Diptera: Simuliidae) multiple species or a single geographic generalist? Insights from the macrogenome. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 114: 163-183.

McCreadie JW and Adler PH. 2014. Abundance–occupancy relationships of larval black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae) in temperate Nearctic streams. Insect Conservation and Diversity. DOI: 10.1111/icad.12075 pp 1 - 10.

Daniel CE and 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. 225:1907. DOI 10.1007/s11270-014-1907-z

McCreadie JW and 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, 48: 127-141


Current funding:

A preliminary state wide survey of ticks and associated diseases of Alabama (JW McCreadie, JO Rayner, RR Wood, J Borden) $ 135,000.

Current Graduate Students:

Kerr S.  2019 - Tick ecology.

Previous Graduate Students:

Ruttley R, 2014 - Macroecological patterns of larval black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae)

Nye J, 2014 - Broad scale patterns of larval stone fly (Plecoptera) distributions
Daniels C. 2013 -Mercury contamination in larval black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae) and stream sediments

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 water scorpions (Hemiptera: Nepidae) in the Mobile/Tensaw Delta