Dragonfly species in the genus Sympetrum overwinter as eggs before hatching in the spring. Females alternate between laying their eggs in the pond and on the shore. The motivation behind this variation in egg laying habitat is poorly understood. Eggs require water to hatch and laying on the shore is risky because the eggs may not become inundated. On the other hand, desiccation may help the eggs survive extreme cold temperatures. My experiment will test the effects of different overwintering environments on egg survival and subsequent growth of the dragonfly larvae. By understanding the motivation behind egg laying behavior, we will be able to predict what environments will be suitable to these dragonflies, and more broadly, what allows organisms to persist in some environments and not others.
Principal Investigator: Shannon McCauley