My research is focused on the host/parasite relationship, using water mites that, as larvae, are parasitic on insects as a model system. One aspect of the program is to investigate the distribution patterns of mites in insect populations and in multi-host guilds, and to determine the role of ecology and behavior in shaping these patterns. Another phase of the program is to determine the effects of parasitism on individuals and on populations, and whether disproportionally heavy parasitism of certain species can alter relative success of species within insect guilds. An additional avenue of investigation involves the evolutionary loss of parasitism, and its consequences. Life-history and allocation of reproductive effort are compared between pairs of recently-diverged species in which one species of the pair has a typical parasitic larva while larvae of the other species do not feed, foregoing the parasitic association.