Ramaley N-295 (lab)
Research in my lab concentrates on the interactions between plants, herbivores and natural enemies. I combine both 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. This research has its roots and context in attempts to understand how plant-insect-natural enemy relationships evolve and are maintained.
My program has 2 major foci:
1) Plant defensive chemistry and its importance for herbivores and the natural enemies of these herbivores. I am especially interested in how variation in plant compounds is important for insects that sequester these compounds and how this plant variation and its consequences for herbivores affect interactions with natural enemies (both predators and parasitoids). My research has both ecological and evolutionary components: how do the dynamics of these interactions affect ecological relationships among the participants and how do these interactions evolve. While much of my research has used chemical attributes of plants, I am also interested in questions not directly related to plant chemistry, as indicated in the description of my current projects below.
2) Response of insect communities to climate change and human disturbance. This research is looking at how grasshopper and butterfly communities have been affected by climate change and habitat fragmentation in the Colorado Front Range. We are using museum collections data coupled with current survey data to investigate these questions.
Nufio, C., McClenahan, J, and M.D. Bowers. 2010. Grasshopper response to reductions in habitat area as mediated by subfamily classification and life history traits. Journal of Insect Conservation. DOI 10.1007/s10841-010-9314-2
Lampert, E., L.A. Dyer, and M.D. Bowers. 2010. Caterpillar chemical defense and parasitoid success: Cotesia congregata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) parasitism of Ceratomia catalpa Lepidoptera: sphingidae). Journal of Chemical Ecology. DOI 10.1007/s10886-010-9840-0
Lampert, E. and M.D. Bowers. 2010. Effects of plant diet on the quality of the generalist, Trichoplusia ni (Noctuidae), as a host for the polyembryonic parasitoid Copidosoma floridanum (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae). Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 134:287-295.
Jamieson, M. and M.D. Bowers. 2010. Iridoid glycoside variation in the invasive plant Dalmatian Toadflax, Linaria dalmatica (Plantaginaceae), and sequestration by the biological control agent Calophasia lunula (Noctuidae). Journal of Chemical Ecology 36:70-79.
Bowers, M.D. 2009. Chemical defenses in Woolly Bears: Sequestration and efficacy against predators and parasitoids. Chapter 5 in: W. Conner (ed.). Tiger Moths and Woolly Bears: Behavior, Ecology and Natrual History of the Arctiidae. Oxford University Press. Pp. 83-101.
Barton, K.E. and M.D. Bowers. 2006. Neighbor species alter resistance phenotypes in Plantago (Plantaginaceae). Oecologia 150:442-452.