Insect Ecology at Purdue - Ian Kaplan's Lab

Insect Ecology

Our lab works at the interface of ecology and agriculture with the goal of applying theoretical principles from population and community ecology to insects on crop plants. Ultimately this serves the dual purpose of testing/improving ecological theory, while simultaneously offering novel approaches to insect pest management that are grounded in basic science. Depending on the specific project, our research touches on many different types of species interactions including herbivory, predation, competition, mutualism, and multi-trophic level interactions. Projects also vary widely along the basic to applied spectrum – certain projects have immediate application potential whereas others are geared towards a more fundamental understanding of how insect communities function. Common to all projects is a three-pronged strategy that addresses questions from multiple spatial and temporal scales using field, greenhouse, and laboratory experiments. Whenever possible we take full advantage of modern techniques to elucidate the mechanisms underlying interactions (e.g., secondary plant chemistry, stable isotopes).