Welcome to the Behmer Lab…
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).
Recent News and Announcements
July (2017) – Spence just returned from giving a talk at Toulouse University and at SIP16 in Tours.
May (2017) – Spence will be heading to China to visit Northwest A&F University, Huazhong Agricultural University and the Institute of Zoology (Beijing).
March (2017) – Spence is giving a talk at the BExME workshop at Penn State University.
February (2017) – Congrats to Richelle Marquess for winning the Department of Entomology MS Student of the Year Award!!
January (2017) – Our paper on nutrition mediating insect susciptibility to Bt toxins is now available (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 successful thesis defense!
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]
Key Publications and Features
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…