Dianna K. Padilla, Professor
Ph.D., University of Alberta, 1987
Aquatic ecology, applied ecology, conservation biology
Lab Website: Padilla Lab Website
Dianna Padilla's major interests are (1) phenotypic plasticity, its relationship to morphology, and its significance in evolution; (2) plant herbivore functional ecology, especially the evolution of structural defenses of plants and the role of mode of feeding and morphological adaptations of herbivores, and (3) the patterns of spread and impacts of invading species in aquatic ecosystems. Her current research focuses on phenotypic plasticity of the marine snail family Littorinidae and ranges from determining the evolution of form and function of the radular feeding apparatus to studies of the phenotypic variation and function of littorinid radulae when snails are subjected to different foods or environments. She is also actively engaged in studies on the invasion of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and other aquatic invaders. These studies include examining factors that influence the patterns of spread of invading species, particularly the movements of humans and the ecological impacts of invading aquatic species on both benthic species (gastropods) and the planktonic community and food web. She is also conducting collaborative work with scientists from the Former Soviet Union who have studied the Eastern European invasion of zebra mussels for more than 20 years. They are testing predictive models of the spread and ecological impacts of zebra mussels as well as summarizing decades of research that have not been previously available to non-Russian scientists.