April Blakeslee

April Monica Houghton Blakeslee

Title: Assistant Professor
Area of Study: Conservation Biology, Invasion Biology, Parasite Ecology, Marine Ecology
Phone: TBA
Fax: 252-737-5255
E-mail: blakesleeap14@ecu.edu
Office: S104 Howell Science Complex
Address: East Carolina University
Department of Biology
Mailstop 551
Greenville, NC 27858


Ph.D.: Zoology, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA, 2007

M.A.: Biology, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 2001

B.A.: Biology (with concentration in Marine Science), Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 1998

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Lab Website:

Blakeslee Lab

Research Interests:

As a researcher interested in conservation biology in marine systems, I have developed a diverse research program involving biodiversity, population genetics, parasite ecology, and biogeography—as well as the unique and integrative insight that can be gained from studying biological invasions. Recently, biological invasions have become recognized as a major contributor to the global (and often disjunct) distributions of many marine species as a result of their movement and establishment via human transport mechanisms. Invasion research is therefore important not only from a conservation perspective but can provide theoretical and practical understanding of population and community level influences of novel species, and can also serve as an important teaching tool for students and the general public. Marine invasions are a major part of human-induced global change, including population, community, and ecosystem-level shifts in marine biota, genetics, and the environment. I have examined many integrative aspects of marine invasions, focusing in four major areas: global distribution patterns (biogeography and phylogeography) and demography of free-living and parasite species, population genetics and population ecology in native and non-native populations, species interactions and community ecology among native and non-native organisms, and parasite ecology in native and non-native populations (including impacts on behavior and physiology). I employ marine invertebrates as model organisms as they have contributed vast numbers of introductions globally, and they also serve as hosts to marine parasites, which are a fundamental but often overlooked component of many marine systems, and which can become cryptic invaders themselves.    


Byers JE, Holmes ZC, Blakeslee AMH (2016) Consistency of trematode infection prevalence in host populations across  large spatial and temporal scales. Ecology. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecy.1440/full

Freeman AS, Frischeisen A, Blakeslee AMH (2016) Estuarine fouling communities are dominated by nonindigenous species in the presence of an invasive crab. Biological Invasions. DOI 10.1007/s10530-016-1108-3.

Kroft KL, Blakeslee AMH (2016) Comparison of parasite diversity in native panopeid mud crabs and the invasive Asian shore crab in estuaries of northeast North America. Aquatic Invasions 11: 287-301.

Fowler AE, Blakeslee AMH, Canning-Clode J, Repetto MF, Phillip AM, Carlton JT, Moser FC, Ruiz GM, Miller AW (2016) Opening Pandora’s bait box: a potent vector for biological invasions of live marine species. Diversity & Distributions. 22: 30-42.

Phelan K, Blakeslee AMH, Krause M, Williams JD (2016) First documentation and molecular confirmation of three trematode species (Platyhelminthes: Trematoda) infecting the polychaete Marenzelleria viridis (Annelida: Spionidae). Parasitology Research. 115: 183-194.

Blakeslee, AMH. (2015). Parasites and Genetics in Marine Invertebrate Introductions: Signatures of Diversity Declines across Systems. In: Biological Invasions in Changing Ecosystems: Vectors, Ecological Impacts, Management and Predictions (Ed. J. Canning Clode). De Gruyter Open (Warsaw, Poland). pp 138-182. (Invited Book Chapter).

Blakeslee AMH, Keogh CL, Fowler AE, Griffen BD (2015) Assessing the effects of trematode infection on invasive green crabs in eastern North America. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0128674.

Darling JA, Tsai YHE, Blakeslee AMH, Roman J (2014) Are genes faster than crabs? Intraspecific admixture facilitates expansion of mitochondrial genomes beyond an established population range limit. Royal Society Open Science 1: 140202.

Blakeslee AMH, Fowler AE, Keogh CL (2013) Marine invasions and parasite escape: updates and new perspectives. Advances in Marine Biology. 66: 87-169.

Freeman AS, Blakeslee AMH, Fowler AE (2013) Range expansion of the rhizocephalan Loxothylacus panopaei (Gissler, 1884) in the northwest Atlantic. Aquatic Invasions. 8: 347-353.

Blakeslee AMH, Fowler AE (2012). Aquatic introductions and genetic founder effects: how do parasites compare to hosts? In: Genetic Diversity I (M. Caliskan, ed.). InTech. Pages 315-336.

Blakeslee AMH, Altman I, Miller AW, Byers JE, Hamer CE, Ruiz GM (2012). Parasites and invasions: a biogeographic examination of parasites and hosts in native and introduced ranges. Journal of Biogeography. 39: 609-622.

Pringle JM, Blakeslee AMH, Byers JE, Roman J (2011). Asymmetric dispersal allows an upstream region to control population structure throughout a species' range. PNAS 108: 15288-15293.

Panova M, Blakeslee AMH, Miller AW, Makinen T, Ruiz GM, Johannesson K, Andre C (2011). Survival of a North Atlantic marine snail in multiple glacial refugia--implications for phylogeographic patterns. PLOS One. 6(3): e17511.

Chang AL, Blakeslee AMH, Miller AW, Ruiz GM (2011). Establishment failure in biological invasions: A case history of Littorina littorea in California, USA. PLOS One. 6(1): e16035.

Altman I, Blakeslee AMH, Osio GC, Rillahan C, Teck S, Meyers JJ, Byers JJ, Rosenberg AA (2011). A practical approach to guide the implementation of ecosystem-based management using the Gulf of Maine marine ecosystem as a case study. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 9: 183–189.

Blakeslee AMH, McKenize CH, Darling JA, Byers JE, Pringle JM, Roman J (2010). A hitchhiker's guide to the Maritimes: anthropogenic transport facilitates long-distance dispersal of a marine crab to Newfoundland. Diversity and Distributions. 16: 879-891.

Blakeslee AMH, Keogh CL, Byers JE, Kuris AM, Lafferty KL, Torchin ME (2009) Differential escape from parasites by two competing introduced crabs. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 393: 83-96.

Brawley SH, Coyer JA, Blakeslee AMH, Olsen JL, Hoarau G, Johnson LE, Byers JE, Stam WT (2009) Historical invasions of the intertidal zone of Atlantic North America associated with distinctive patterns of trade and emigration. PNAS. 106: 8239-8244.

Blakeslee AMH, Byers JE, Lesser MP (2008) Resolving cryptogenic histories using host and parasite genetics. Molecular Ecology 17: 3684-3696.

Blakeslee AMH, Byers JE (2008) Using parasites to inform ecological history: comparisons among three congeneric marine snails. Ecology 89: 1068-1078.

Byers JE, Blakeslee AMH, Linder E, Cooper A, Maguire T (2008) Controls of spatial variation in the abundance of marine trematode parasites. Ecology 89: 439-51.

Chapman JW, Blakeslee AMH, Carlton JT, Bellinger MR (2008) Parsimony dictates a human introduction: On the use of genetic (and other) data to distinguish between the natural and human-mediated invasion of the European snail Littorina littorea in North America. Biological Invasions 10: 131-133.

Blakeslee AMH (2008) "Native or invasive? The case history of the marine snail, Littorina littorea, in northeast North America" in Oceans Past: Management Insights from the History of Marine Animal Populations (D. Starkey, P. Holm, M. Barnard, eds.). Earthscan, London, England, pp. 7-24.

Wares JP, Blakeslee AMH (2007) AFLP data provide poor resolution to the Littorina littorea puzzle. Marine Biology Research 3: 168-174.

Chapman JW, Carlton JT, Bellinger MR, Blakeslee AMH. 2007. Premature refutation of a human-mediated marine species introduction: the case history of the marine snail, Littorina littorea, in the Northwestern Atlantic. Biological Invasions 9: 737-750.

Wood CL, Byers JE, Cottingham KL, Altman I, Donahue M, Blakeslee AMH (2007) Parasites alter community structure. PNAS 104: 9335-9339.

Courses Taught:

Environmental Biology (BIOL 1060)