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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. Recently we have also begun to use sequencing approaches to better understand physiological 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 contact us if you have any questions. Prospective students and postdocs can click here to learn more about the lab.

February (2017) - Spence is attending the Gordon Research Conference on
     Plant-Herbivore Interactions (Ventura, CA). He is the Vice Chair for the 2017
     meeting, and the Chair for the 2019 meeting.

January (2017) - Our paper on nutrition mediating insect susciptibility to Bt toxins is now
     avialable (published in Scientific Reports)! We believe this is a very important paper.

December (2016) - We have another paper out (in the Journal of Insect Physiology) related to
     our NSF-funded life-history trade-off research. This paper is on lipogenesis across different
     nutritional environments.

November (2016) - Our paper on nutrition as a neglected factor in insect herbivore
     susceptibility to Bt toxins is out (Current Opinion in Insect Science).

October (2016) - Congratulations to Richelle Marquess on a succesful thesis defense!

September (2016) - Spence will be attending the XXV International Congress of
     Entomology. Spence is giving an invited locust talk, and an update on his USDA funded
     rearch at a USDA workshop for PDs.

August (2016) - Another busy semester begins...Spences is teaching three classes...General
     Entomology (ENTO 201), Insect Physiology (ENTO 306) and Physiological
     Ecology (EEBL 601).

Deans, C.A., Behmer, S.T., Tessnow, A.E., Tamez-Guerra, P., Pusztai-Carey, M. and Sword, G.A.
     (2017) Nutrition affects insect susceptibility to Bt toxins. Scientific Reports 7, 39705. [pdf]

 

Roeder, K.A. and Behmer, S.T. (2014) Lifetime consequences of food protein-carbohydrate
     content for an insect herbivore. Functional Ecology 28, 1135-1143. [pdf]

 

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
     Entomology
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,
     USA
105, 1977-1982. [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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