Dale D. Edwards

Contact Information


  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Parasitology

Faculty Photo


  • B.S. - Brandon University (Canada)
  • M.S. - Wake Forest University
  • Ph.D. - Wake Forest University

Research Interests

My research has focused primarily on the ecology and evolution of organisms with symbiotic lifestyles. I have been particularly interested in addressing the evolutionary ecology of water mites (Unionicola spp.) that live in association with various species of freshwater mussels. My research has addressed the role of host specificity in host race formation and speciation among host-associated mite populations, the effects that ectoparasitic larval mites have on their insect hosts, including their potential role in influencing host survival and reproduction. I also have had a keen interest in Unionicola systematics, and have worked in collaboration with Brian Ernsting (University of Evansville) and Malcolm Vidrine (Louisiana State University at Eunice) to address phylogenetic relationships among unionicolid mussel-mites, using both morphological and molecular characters. Most recently, I have been involved in collaborative research with Noah Gordon (University of Evansville). We are examining levels of parasitism among closely related species of tree frogs and the role that parasites may play in mediating interactions among these species.

Selected Publications

Ernsting, B.R., D.D. Edwards, T.A. Timbrook, and M.M. Frerichs. 2014. Preliminary evidence of cryptic species among host-associated populations of Unionicola hoesei (Acari: Unionicolidae). International Journal of Acarology, 40: 358-365.

Edwards, D. D. and M. F. Vidrine. 2013. Patterns of species richness among assemblages of Unionicola spp. (Acari: Unionicolidae) inhabiting freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionoida) of North America. Journal of Parasitology, 99 212-217.

Edwards, D.D., L.E. Jackson, A.J. Johnson, and B.R. Ernsting. 2011. Mitochondrial genome sequence of Unionicola parkeri (Acari: Trombidiformes: Unionicolidae): molecular synapomorphies between closely-related Unionicola gill mites. Experimental and Applied Acarology, 54: 105-117.

Edwards, D.D., M.F. Vidrine, and B.R. Ernsting. 2010. Phylogenetic relationships among Unionicola (Acari: Unionicolidae) mussel-mites of North America based on mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I sequences. Zootaxa, 2537: 47-57.

Ernsting, B.R., Edwards, D.D., Aldred, K.J., Fites, J.S., and C.R. Neff. 2009. Mitochondrial genome sequence of Unionicola foili (Acari: Unionicolidae): a unique gene order with implications for phylogenetic inference. Experimental and Applied Acarology, 49: 305-316.

Ernsting, B.R., D.D. Edwards, M.F. Vidrine, and H. Cun. 2008. Genetic differences among sibling species of the subgenus Dimockatax (Acari: Unionicolidae: Unionicola): heterogeneity in DNA sequence data supports morphological differentiation. International Journal of Acarology, 34: 403-407.

Edwards, D.D., M.F. Vidrine, J.A. Hamlin, L.B. Thomas, and D. Joubert. 2008. Unionicola (Dimockatax) ernstingi n. sp. (Acari: Unionicolidae) from freshwater mussels, Anodontoides radiatus (Conrad, 1834) in Louisiana, USA. International Journal of Acarology, 34:281-284.

Edwards, D. D. and M. F. Vidrine. 2006. Host specificity among Unionicola spp. (Acari: Unionicolidae) parasitizing freshwater mussels. Journal of Parasitology, 92 977-983.

Morphological Character State Matrices