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. F., Kessler, A., & Thaler, J. S. (2017). Plant defences limit herbivore population growth by changing predator-prey interactions. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 284.
- Claflin, S. B., Power, A. G., & Thaler, J. S. (2017). Aphid density and community composition differentially affect apterous aphid movement and plant virus transmission. Ecological Entomology. 42:245-254.
- Tigreros, N., Norris, R. H., Wang, E. H., & Thaler, J. S. (2017). Maternally induced intraclutch cannibalism: an adaptive response to predation risk? Ecology Letters. 20:487-494.
- Garrido, E., Díaz, M. F., Bernal, H., Ñustez, C. E., Thaler, J. S., Jander, G., & Poveda, K. (2017). Costs and tradeoffs of resistance and tolerance to belowground herbivory in potato. PLoS one. 12:13.
- Wetzel, W. C., & Thaler, J. S. (2016). Does plant trait diversity reduce the ability of herbivores to defend against predators? The plant variability-gut acclimation hypothesis. Insect Science. 14:25-31.
- 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.