Dr. Erin Watson
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
Ph.D.,Louisiana State University, 2004
Office: 203 Biology Building
Phone: (985) 549-5991
Office Hours: by appointment
Teaching Expertise: Human Anatomy and Physiology, Forensic Biology, Forensic Entomology, and Insect Taxonomy.
My research focuses on forensic entomology, carrion ecology, and the use of insects in determining postmortem intervals (or time since death) of human homicides and poached wildlife. Research interests include the carrion habitat, community structure, faunal succession, and development rates of necrophilous insects, animal and human myiasis, and interactions between Calliphoridae, microbes, and decaying remains.
Current research includes studying the impacts of the recently introduced blow fly species, the hairy maggot blow fly, Chrysomya rufifacies (Macquart) (Diptera: Calliphoridae), on native necrophilous insect species. Chrysomya rufifacies was first reported in the United States during the early 1980s in Texas and from Louisiana during 1995. As an aggressive invader, C. rufifacies has dramatically disrupted the natural balance of native necrophilous insect communities associated with carcasses during the warmer months of late spring to fall in Louisiana. Chrysomya rufifacies larvae are predaceous on calliphorid larvae and facultatively cannibalistic. Furthermore, C. rufifacies larvae are repellant to native blow fly larvae and predaceous beetles and ants. Chrysomya rufifacies serves as a biotic stressor on the necrophilous insect community, through both interference and interspecific competition.