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Leslie Russo
Biology, Geology and Environmental Science
B.S. Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of Kentucky, 2013
  210 Holt

Degree Tract: Internship

Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Boyd

Research Interests: The ecology of invasive species and the mechanisms by which they invade, persist, and often thrive in new habitats intrigues me. I am interested in how these species interact with one another and impact biodiversity in the habitats they invade. Currently, I am completing an internship at an invasive mosquito biocontrol company that is using naturally occurring Wolbachia sp. bacteria to infect invasive Aedes albopictus (tiger mosquito) male mosquitoes, which are then released to breed with naturally occurring female tiger mosquitoes. Due to transinfection with the Wolbachia sp. bacteria, the female mosquitoes’ eggs fail to hatch. The company, MosquitoMate, located in Lexington, Kentucky, is working under NIH grants and has secured EPA permits to release male mosquitoes in various locations across the country to deal with this invasive species that is a vector of such diseases as Zika virus, West Nile virus, dengue fever and chikungunya virus.

Within the internship, I am conducting an independent project investigating if the invasive plant species Lonicera maackii (bush honeysuckle) facilitates larval survival and subsequent adult growth of A. albopictus mosquitoes, when they occur in laboratory microcosms mimicking the mosquitoes’ container breeding habitat.



Webb, S.E., D.H. Cumbie, J.S. Dinger and L.K. Russo. 2007. Ground- and surface-water monitoring at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center. Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. Kentucky Geological Survey Information Circular 17 (series 12).

Webb, S.E., D.H. Cumbie, J.S. Dinger and L.K. Russo. 2006. Water-quality and -quantity data for abandoned underground coal mines in Eastern Kentucky. Kentucky Geological Survey Information Circular 15 (series 12).



Russo, L.K., C. Montgomery, D. Hoover, J. Odell, G. Raymond and J. Boyd. 2014. Invasive plant species distribution and abundance in Tennessee Army National Guard Volunteer Training Sites-from ground surveys to Geographic Information System layers. Poster at 2014 Association of Southeastern Biologists Conference. Spartansburg, SC. April 2-5, 2014.


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