I study the ecological interactions between plants, herbivores, and carnivores in wild and agricultural Solanaceous plant species. My approach focuses on understanding behavioral and phytochemical mechanisms of such tri-trophic interactions, testing theory on the organization of multi-trophic communities, and generating novel strategies to control insect pests.
Dr. Thaler’s research goals are to develop a predictive framework for understanding the complex interactions that occur between plant and insect species. Studies of fundamental ecological processes, in both agricultural and wild systems, can provide insight into controlling insect pests and understanding the natural world. Thaler’s research focuses on ecological interactions between plants, herbivores, and carnivores in agricultural and wild Solanaceous plants. Current research projects focus on understanding the non-consumptive effects of predators on prey and understanding how plants integrate their defenses against multiple attackers.
I teach three undergraduate courses, Insect Ecology, Chemical Ecology and Ecology and the Environment. I also co-teach a graduate seminar in Plant-insect Interactions every semester.
- Kersch-Becker, M., & Thaler, J. S. (2015). Plant resistance reduces the strength of consumptive and non-consumptive effects of predators on aphids. Journal of Animal Ecology. 84:1222–1232 .
- Orrock, J. L., Sih, A., Ferrari, M. C., Karban, R., Preisser, E. L., Sheriff, M. J., & Thaler, J. S. (2015). Error management in plant allocation to herbivore defense. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 30:441–445.
- Claflin, S. B., Thaler, J. S., & Power, A. G. (2015). Predators, host abundance, and host spatial distribution affect the movement of wingless non-colonizing vector Rhopalosiphum padi (L.) and PVY prevalence in an oat/potato system. Arthropod-Plant Interactions. 9:301–309.
- Raguso, R. A., Agrawal, A., Douglas, A., Jander, G., Kessler, A., Poveda, K., & Thaler, J. S. (2015). The raison d'etre of chemical ecology. Ecology. 96:617-630.
- Thaler, J. S., Olson, E. L., & Kaplan, I. (2015). Jasmonate-induced plant defenses and prey availability impact the preference and performance of an omnivorous stink bug, Podisus maculiventris. Arthropod-Plant Interactions. 9:141-148.
- Sheriff, M. J., & Thaler, J. S. (2014). Ecophysiological effects of predation risk; an integration across disciplines. Oecologia. 176:607-677.
- Thaler, J. S., Contreras, H., & Davidowitz, G. (2014). Effects of predation risk and plant resistance on Manduca sexta caterpillar feeding behavior and physiology. Ecological Entomology. 39:210-216.
- Kaplan, I., McArt, S., & Thaler, J. S. (2014). Plant defenses and predation risk differentially shape patterns of consumption, growth, and digestive efficiency in a guild of leaf-chewing insects. PLoS One. 9:e93714.
- Campbell, S. A., Halitschke, R., Thaler, J. S., & Kessler, A. (2014). Plant mating systems alter adaptive plasticity in response to herbivory. The Plant Journal. 78:481-490.
- Hermann, S. L., & Thaler, J. S. (2014). Prey Perception of Predation Risk: volatile chemical cues mediate non-consumptive effects of a predator on a herbivorous insect. Oecologia. 176:669-676.