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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.

October (2015) - The Behmer lab has been awarded a 3-year USDA grant to study
     nutritionally-mediated variation in Helicoverpa zea susceptibility to Bt transgenic crops!
    This work is in collaboration with Greg Sword and Marianne Pusztai-Carey.

October (2015) - Spence is giving the Entomology seminar at the U. of Florida (October 2).

September (2015) - Another paper from our NSF grant is now available, this one in
     Functional Ecology - Metabolic rate is canalized in the face of variable life history and
     nutritional environment
. Rebecca Clark did the heavy lifting on this one.

July (2015) - The Behmer lab has been awarded a 2-year grant to study the nutritional
     physiology and collective behavior of twany crazy ants!

June (2015) - The first paper from Carrie Deans' dissertation has been accepted! It re-examines
     macronutrient regulation in the caterpillar Helicoverpa zea (published in JIP).

May (2015) - Congratulations to Angie Martin on a succesful thesis defense!

May (2015) - Congratulations to Carrie Deans on a succesful desertation defense! Fortunately
     for us Carrie will be staying on as a postdoctoral research associate.

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...


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

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