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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.

May (2014) - Spence has been promoted to Professor (effective September 1).

May (2014) - Patrick Abbot (Vanderbilt University) was recently awarded an SEC Faculty
     Fellowship and will be visiting the Behmer Lab in late May to discuss new collaborations.

April (2014) - Spence is off to give an invited Seminar in the Department of Entomology
      at the University of Wisconsin (April 25).

March (2014) - Congratulations to Marion Le Gall for successfully defending her Ph.D.!
     Marion is soon off to join John Tooker's lab (at Penn State Univeristy).

March (2014) - Congratulations to Paul Lenhart for successfully defending his Ph.D.!
     Paul is now a member of Jennifer White's lab (at the University of Kentucky).

February (2014) - Congratulations to Marion Le Gall for receiving the Outstading
     Graduate Student Award (Ph.D. category). A very well deserved honor!

January (2014) - Congratulations to Carrie Deans for receiving the Best Ph.D. Student
     Oral Presentation Prize (in her section) at the Beltwide Contton Conference.

Roeder, K.A. and Behmer, S.T. (2014) Lifetime consequences of food protein-carbohydrate content
     for an insect herbivore.
Functional Ecology, early view. [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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