Meet Emily S. Durkin
Assistant Professor, Biology
Phone: (813) 257-4036
Address: 401 W. Kennedy Blvd. Tampa, FL 33606
2009 Northern Michigan University, B.S.
2013 Northern Michigan University, M.S.
2019 University of Alberta, Ph.D.
Broadly, Emily Durkin is interested in the ecology and evolution of parasitic lifestyles, especially in how parasitic lifestyles may have evolved in free-living ancestors. She is also interested in the behavior of parasites and their role in parasite evolution.
Most of Durkin's research uses invertebrate study systems, but also experiences with birds as well. She surveyed the ectoparasitic chewing lice of a population of brood-parasitic brown-headed cowbirds for her master's research (Durkin et al. 2015. Parasitology Research 114(11): 4169-4174).
Durkin's doctoral research focused on the parasitic attachment behavior of a facultatively parasitic mite and its importance in the evolution of parasitism in free-living ancestors. She experimentally evolved a population of these mites to exhibit increased attachment behavior (Durkin and Luong 2018. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 31: 362-370) and tested for potential evolutionary trade-offs associated with increased attachment behavior (Durkin and Luong 2019. Parasitology 146: 1289-1295).
More recently, she began studying the behavior of individual mites (Durkin et al. 2020. Journal of Insect Behavior: 1-6). She still uses this mite system to study parasite behavior as well as vector biology and behavior. She also jumped into the world of spiders and their parasites (Durkin et al. 2021. Journal of Arachnology). Finally, Durkin likes to devote time to participating in Skype a Scientist and the Scientist in Every Florida School program to increase science education and exposure to a larger proportion of K-12 students.