Alina Avanesyan

Research Interests

In my research, I explore various eco-evolutionary mechanisms which drive species interactions, and especially novel interactions between native and invasive species. I’m using primarily arthropods and plant-insect study systems to investigate how the lack of co-evolutionary history affects species adaptations to novel hosts, enemies, food sources, etc. I’m particularly curious how species behavior, morphology, and physiology change in response to novel environments. I’ve been working on a variety of projects that involve field and greenhouse experiments, molecular biology techniques, light and scanning electron microscopy, as well as systematic reviews and meta-analyses of existing ecological data.

In Dr. Bill Lamp’s lab, I work on novel plant-insect interactions focusing on invasive species. I primarily use molecular gut content analysis which allows us to detect ingested plant DNA within insect gut contents, determine identity of ingested plant species, and create an accurate host plant range of an insect species. My work is heavily focused on the invasive spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula: through using a single specimen DNA barcoding and meta-barcoding I decipher the lanternfly’s trophic interactions at each developmental stage. We hope that the results from this work will be invaluable for early detection and monitoring the nymphs and adults of Lycorma delicatula and predicting its novel host plants in the introduced range.

Education

  • Ph.D., Biological Sciences 2014
  • University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
  • Areas of concentration: Molecular Biology, Evolutionary Ecology
  • Dissertation: Native versus exotic grasses: the interaction between generalist insect herbivores and their host plants
  • Candidate of Science (Ph.D.-equivalent), Biological Sciences 2002
  • Herzen State University, St. Petersburg, Russia.
  • Areas of concentration: Cell Biology, Immunology, Parasitology
  • Dissertation: The effect of defense responses of snails on development of trematode partenitae (with a focus on the family Echinostomatidae)
  • Diploma, Biology, Psychology cum laude 1997
  • Herzen State University, St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Areas of concentration: Genetics, Ecology

Selected Publications

  • Avanesyan, A., and W.O. Lamp. (2022) Response of five Miscanthus sinensis cultivars to grasshopper herbivory: implications for monitoring of invasive grasses in protected areas. Plants: Special Issue "Invasive Alien Species in Protected Areas ", 11(1), 53, https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11010053. Invited paper.
  • Avanesyan, A., Sutton, H., and W.O. Lamp. (2021) Choosing an effective PCR-based approach for diet analysis of insect herbivores: A systematic review. Journal of Economic Entomology, 114(3), 1035–1046.
  • Avanesyan, A., Illahi, N. and W.O. Lamp. (2021) Detecting ingested host plant DNA in potato leafhopper, Empoasca fabae: potential use of molecular markers for gut content analysis. Journal of Economic Entomology, 114(1), 472–475.
  • Avanesyan, A., and W.O. Lamp. (2020) Use of molecular gut content analysis to decipher the range of food plants of the invasive spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula. Insects: Special Issue " Molecular gut content analysis: deciphering trophic interactions of insects", 11(4), 215, https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11040215. Invited paper.
  • Avanesyan, A., Maugel T.K., and W. Lamp. (2019) External morphology and developmental changes of tarsal tips and mouthparts of the invasive spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula. PLOS ONE, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0226995.
  • Avanesyan, A., Lamp, W., Snook, K., and P. Follett. (2019) Short-term physiological response of a native Hawaiian plant, Hibiscus arnottianus, to injury by the exotic leafhopper, Sophonia orientalis (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae). Environmental Entomology 48(2): 363-369.
  • Avanesyan, A. (2018) Should I eat or should I go? Acridid grasshoppers and their novel host plants: implications for biotic resistance. Plants: Special Issue "Plants Interacting with other Organisms: Insects", 7(4), 83, https://doi.org/10.3390/plants7040083. Invited paper.