Published: Aug. 18, 2022

Professor Deane Bowers to discuss ‘Globalization’s consequences for plant-insect interactions and the planet’s wellness’; event is the first of a series on wellness this academic year

Globalization, which helps goods and services flow across international borders, has also helped non-native plants take root in new areas, and this migration is changing the ecology in both good and bad ways, a University of Colorado Boulder ecologist notes.

On Sept. 1 at 11 a.m. via Zoom, Deane Bowers, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, will explain further in a presentation titled “Globalization’s consequences for plant-insect interactions and the planet’s wellness.”

Globalization has eased the movement of goods and services across borders, which has also resulted in the movement of plants, animals and microbes from their native habitats into new ones.

Deane Bowers

At the top of the page: Kudzu is a highly invasive plant in the South (Lee Coursey/Flickr). Above: Deane Bowers will speak on Sept. 1 about "Globalization’s consequences for plant-insect interactions and the planet’s wellness."

These migrations have substantial consequences for the wellness of the planet, Bowers notes, adding: “Introductions of non-native, exotic plants, in particular, can alter existing communities and elicit novel interactions when incorporated into the diets of native herbivores and pollinators.” 

But those interactions are not universally bad, she notes, adding that exotic introductions sometimes can provide “valuable resources for native species, thus resulting in benefits.”

Her presentation will highlight the “wide range of effects that globalization can have on plants, insects and their interactions, and the consequences of these changing relationships for the natural world.”

Bowers’ research concentrates on the interactions between plants, herbivores and natural enemies. She combines field, greenhouse and laboratory work to investigate the dynamics of these interactions from many perspectives, including behavior, evolution, ecology, physiology and plant and insect chemistry.

Her laboratory has two primary focuses: plant defensive chemistry and its importance for herbivores and pollinators and the natural enemies of these insects, and the response of insect communities to climate change and human disturbance.

Bowers has served on the CU Boulder faculty since 1989 and previously served on the faculty of Harvard University. She holds a PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In 2015, she was named a Entomological Society of America fellow, and, in 1996, she won the Boulder Faculty Assembly’s Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarly and Creative Work.

Bowers’ talk is part of Let’s CU Well, a series of wellness presentations that is an outgrowth of the College of Arts and Sciences’ wellness initiative, called Be Well. The speaker series aims to help the college community find balance in home and school life with the help of knowledge from the college's researchers, scholars and artists.

Event Details

  • Who: M. Deane Bowers, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, CU Museum curator of entomology
  • What: Globalization’s consequences for plant-insect interactions and planet wellness, a Let’s CU Well presentation
  • When: Sept. 1, 11 a.m.
  • Where: Zoom (register here)