Biology Department

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Erika Iyengar Erika Iyengar
Associate Professor
New Science Building 320
484-664-3731
iyengar@muhlenberg.edu

Visit Erika Iyengar's website

Education
B.S. with honors, Stanford University
Ph.D. Zoology, Cornell University

Courses Taught
Concepts of Biology: Animal Behavior (BIO 116)
Principles of Biology I (BIO 150)
Invertebrate Zoology (BIO 204)
Ecology (BIO 270)
Freshwater Ecology (BIO 281)
Field Marine Biology (BIO 282)
Evolution (BIO 470) --writing intensive, capstone course

Research Interests
I study the ecology of invertebrates, with a particular focus on symbiotic interactions and feeding and defense in marine invertebrates. I use an understanding of the present-day ecology of organisms to shed light on evolutionary questions.   My summer research often occurs at sites near the Friday Harbor Laboratories (FHL), on San Juan Island, Washington State, and I have brought Muhlenberg students out to FHL to perform research with me.  For one major set of my projects, I am examining epibiotic snails that live on other organisms.  How species-specific are these symbiotic interactions, why choose one host over another, and what sorts of benefits and costs are incurred by the epibionts and hosts?  Much of my recent work has involved the snail Crepidula adunca, which mostly specializes on the top snail Calliostoma ligatum in the San Juan Islands.  On-campus, projects in my lab also involve defense strategies of fresh water (stream and pond) insects and snails.

Peer-Reviewed Publications; * indicates an undergraduate co-author
Iyengar, E.V., Sitvarin*, M.I., and M. Cataldo*. 2008. Function of the flexible periostracal hairs in Trichotropis cancellata (Mollusca, Gastropoda). Invertebrate Biology. 127: 299-313.

Iyengar, E.V. 2008.  Kleptoparasitic interactions throughout the animal kingdom and a re-evaluation, based on participant mobility, of the conditions promoting the evolution of kleptoparasitism.  Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 93: 745-762.

Iyengar, E.V. 2008. Suspension feeding and kleptoparasitism within the genus Trichotropis(Gastropoda: Capulidae). Journal of Molluscan Studies 74: 55-62.

Iyengar, E.V. 2005.  Seasonal feeding mode changes in the marine facultative kleptoparasiteTrichotropis cancellata (Gastropoda, Capulidae): trade-offs between trophic strategy and reproduction.  Canadian Journal of Zoology. 83: 1097-1111.

Iyengar, E.V. 2004. Host-specific performance and host use in the kleptoparasitic marinesnail Trichotropis cancellata. Oecologia. 138: 628-639.

Iyengar, E.V. 2002. Sneaky snails and wasted worms: kleptoparasitism by Trichotropis cancellata (Mollusca, Gastropoda) on Serpula columbiana (Annelida, Polychaeta).Marine Ecology Progress Series. 244: 153-162.

Iyengar, E.V. and C.D. Harvell. 2002. Specificity of cues triggering inducible spines in the bryozoan Membranipora membranacea. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 225: 205-218.

Iyengar, E.V. and C.D. Harvell. 2001. Predator deterrence of early developmental stages of temperate lecithotrophic asteroids and holothuroids. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 264: 171-188.

Pollock, D.D., W.B. Watt, V.K. Rashbrook, and E.V. Iyengar. 1998. Molecular phylogeny forColias butterflies and their relatives (Lepidoptera: Pieridae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am.,Vol 91, pp. 524-531.

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