Behavioral and physiological stress responses are critical for organisms to persist under new environmental conditions. Humans have brought about unprecedented changes to environments worldwide. Yet, studying how organisms respond to stress in these changing environments is complicated by the facts that: 1) the environmental stressor and the stress response may connect over broad time scales ‒from minutes to years, across life stages, seasons, and even across generations 2) the significance of such responses must be established in the real-world, where human-altered landscapes introduce new stressors and/or alters the frequency and/or magnitude of existing ones.
To address these two challenges we often combine laboratory experiments with greenhouse and field observations, and integrate tools and approaches from diverse fields, including nutritional ecology, behavior and physiology, evolutionary ecology, and landscape ecology. We work with insects, especially those that are herbivorous at some point in their life cycle, including many beetles and butterflies. The specific research topics we are working on include: