Department of Biology
Loyola University Maryland
4501 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21210-2699
Office: DS 258
Office tel: 410-617-2057
Areas of Interest: Entomology and Forensic Entomology
My research laboratory is directed toward two areas of interest: 1) the evolution of host-parasite relationships, and 2) biology and physiological interactions between necrophagous flies and parasitic wasps important to criminal investigations (Forensic Entomology). My primary research interests are in the interactions that occur between parasitic insects and their hosts. Specifically, I study the behavioral and biochemical adaptations that result from parasitic invasions of holometabolous insects. Over the last several years, my attention has been focused toward 5 areas: 1) parasite regulation of host developmental and nutritional program in relation to the reproductive strategy (gregarious versus solitary) employed by ectoparasitic wasps, 2) acquisition of cold tolerance in ectoparasitic wasps, particularly in relation to the influence of host species, 3) immunological responses of filth flies to parasitism by ectoparasitoids, 4) modes of action of parasitic wasp venoms, and 5) molecular cloning of venom genes from parasitic wasps.
A new direction for my research laboratory has been investigations of physiological interactions occurring between flies that develop on a corpse. Presently, I am examining the physiology of maggot masses, which are large feeding aggregations of fly larvae that form on an animal carcass during decomposition. My lab is attempting to decipher the source of heat generation that occurs in these masses, as well as characterizing the proteotoxic or thermal stress responses and adaptations of flies developing in maggot masses with elevated temperatures, and determine the costs and benefits to the life history strategies of necrophagous flies.
Rivers, D.R., Dani, M.P., and Richards, E.V. 2009. The mode of action of venom from the endoparasitic wasp Pimpla hypochondriaca (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) involves Ca+2-dependent cell death pathways. Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology 71(3) 173-190.
Er, A., Uckan, F., Rivers, D.B., Ergin, E., and Sak, O. 2010. Effects of parasitization and envenomation by the endoparasitic wasp Pimpla turionellae (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) on hemocyte numbers, morphology, and viability of its host Galleria mellonella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) and toward an embryonic cell line from Trichoplusia ni (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 103(2): 273-282.
Rivers, DB, Ciarlo, T., Speilman, M. and Brogan, R. 2010. Changes in development and heat shock protein expression in two species of flies [Sarcophaga bullata (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) and Protophormia terraenovae (Diptera: Calliphoridae) reared in different sized maggot masses. Journal of Medical Entomology 47(4): 677-689.
Daneels, E.L., Rivers, D.B., and de Graaf, D.C. 2010. Venom proteins of the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis: recent discovery of an untapped pharmacopee. Toxins: 2: 494-516.
Asgari, S. and Rivers, D.B. 2011. Venom proteins from endoparasitoid wasps and their role in host-parasite interactions. Annual Review of Entomology. In press.