Research in my laboratory focuses the behavior and ecology (both pure and applied aspects) of parasitoid wasps. My research program has two foci: 1) parasitoid behavioral ecology in general. I am particularly interested in the evolution of clutch size and sex allocation decisions. I am also interested in how sex allocation decisions are influenced by mating structure in field populations and the application of parasitoid behavioral ecology to mass-rearing programs. 2) multi-trophic interactions involving plant defenses against herbivores (mostly chemical, but other traits as well) and their interactions with parasitoids. I am very interested in how the functions of these trophic relationships compare in native and introduced habitats (e.g. Copidosoma sosares, parsnip webworms, and wild parsnip in western Europe and western US) as well as between natural and agricultural settings (e.g. comparing tri-trophic interactions among native, introduced and cultivated populations of crucifers, their herbivores, and their natural enemies; comparing tri-trophic interactions involving wild and cultivated populations of sunflower).
Courses I Teach
In this course you will learn the basics of entomology, spanning insect evolution and diversity,
structure and function, and interactions with humans and the environment as well as
management strategies for ‘problem’ species. The overall theme of this course is insect
biodiversity – why are there so many insects and why are they so diverse. The course is roughly
divided into these four themes: insect diversity and evolution, insect structure and function,
insect interactions with other organisms, and insect interactions with humans.
Students will develop the skills necessary to prepare a complete scientific journal article based on findings from their individual research project. Students will learn how to write manuscripts that not only present and interpret their findings, but also tell a compelling story. The writing approaches advocated in this class are applicable to anyone writing in the life sciences including, but not limited to, students in the Colleges of Agricultural Sciences, Natural Resources, and Natural Sciences. Students will gain experience in writing, editing, and literature assessment through regular feedback provided by the instructors as well as their peers.