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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.

March (2015) - Spence will be giving invited seminars to three Departments of Entomology
     over the next four weeks - Purdue University (March 26), Kansas State University (April 6),
     and the University of Kentucky (April 23).

March (2015) - Congrats to Rebecca Clark, who has just accepted a postdoc position in the
     lab of Caroline Williams (at the University of California-Berkeley)! Rebecca is currently
     finishing work on a collaborative NSF grant with Tony Zera. Rebecca will be joining
     the Williams Lab in the fall. We are going to miss having Rebecca in the lab!

March (2015) - Paul Lenhart's first dissertation paper is now available in Oikos - "Water stress
     in grasslands: the dynamic responses of plants and insect herbivores".

January (2015) - Congrats to Carrie Deans for winning best Ph.D. student oral presentation at
     the Beltwide Cotton Conference (in San Antonio, TX)!

January (2015) - Rebecca Clark's paper in The Journal of Experimental Biology is out -
     "Nutritional physiology of life-history trade-offs: how food protein-carbohydrate content
     influences life-history traits in the wing-polymorphic cricket Gryllus firmus".

January (2015) - Carrie Deans' paper in Hydrobiologia is now available - "The influence of
     enrichment and dissolved N:P ratios on mayfly (Baetis spp.) growth in high-nutrient
     detritus-based streams".

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
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]



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


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