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The Insect Physiology & Behavior Research Group (IPBRG), headed by Spence Behmer, studies insect physiology and behavior, including their ecological and evolutionary bases. Our approach is "bottom-up", with an emphasis on using individual behavior as a tool to understand physiological and higher-level processes. Our lab pursues three broadly defined areas of research:


     1) physiological ecology

     2) insect sterol (cholesterol) biology

     3) mechanisms of learning


We use a number of different insects in our research, including grasshoppers, caterpillars, ants, Drosophila, and insects with sucking mouthparts (hemipterans).


Please explore our site and feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Prospective students and postdocs can click here to learn more about opportunities in the lab.

August (2013) - Paul, Marion and Carrie are attending and presenting at the Annual
     Ecological Society of America Meeting (in Minneapolis, MN).

July (2013) - Our paper on contrasting nutrient regulation strategies in wing
     polymorphic crickets is now out in Functional Ecology.

July (2013) - Jeri Wright and Spence are putting together a speical issue, on insect
     nutritional homeostasis, for the Journal of Insect Physiology (out in mid 2014).

May (2013) - Xiangfeng had another one of his dissertation chapters published...his
     second one in Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

April (2013) - Spence gave an invited talk at the 2nd Workshop on Insect
     Nutrtitional Homeostasis (in Bonn, Germany).

March (2013) - Marion won first place for her talk at the 14th Annual Ecological
     Integration Sympoium, held at Texas A&M University.

February (2013) - Spence was elected the vice-chair (2016) and chair (2018) for the
     Gordon Research Conference on Plant-Herbivore Interactions.

Joern, A., Provin, T. and Behmer, S.T. (2012) Not just the usual suspects: Insect herbivore
     populations and communities are associated with multiple plant nutrients.
     Ecology 93, 1002-1015. [pdf]


Behmer, S.T. and Joern, A. (2012) Insect herbivores viewed through a physiological
     framework: insights from Orthoptera. In Insect Outbreaks Revisited (eds. P. Barbosa,
     D.K. Letourneau and A.A. Agrawal), pp 3-29. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, U.K. [pdf]


Behmer, S.T. (2009) Insect herbivore nutrient regulation. Annual Review of
54, 165-187. (click here for a free PDF)


Behmer, S.T. and Joern, A. (2008) Coexisting generalist herbivores occupy unique
     nutritional feeding niches. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
105, 1977-1982. [pdf]


Warbrick-Smith, J., Behmer, S.T., Lee, K.P., Raubenheimer, D. and Simpson, S.J.
(2006) Evolving resistance to obesity in an insect. Proceedings of the National
     Academy of Sciences, USA
103, 14045-14049. [pdf]



For a full list of publications, click here...


To learn about research that is in the news visit our media section...

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