Professor, Department of Entomology
Jennifer Thaler is a Professor in the Departments of Entomology and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Field of Entomology. Prior to her arrival to Cornell in 2004, she served on the faculty in the Department of Botany at the University of Toronto. She is the current Chair for the Gordon Research Conference in Plant-Herbivore Interactions, is part of the Chemical Ecology Multistate group, and received the Senior Faculty Champion Award for her support of graduate student well-being. In her free time she reads, gardens and goes backpacking with her family.
Dr. Thaler’s research is focused on the species interactions and the chemical ecology of Solanaceous plants, things we can eat like tomato, potato, and tomatillo. Using plant resistance to insects as the focal point, her group investigates predator-prey interactions, community ecology and applications to agricultural pest management.
B.S. Wellesley College 1993, PhD UC Davis 1999
Current areas of research include 1) interactions between bottom-up forces (plant defenses) and top-down control (predators and parasitoids) of herbivores, 2) the influence of plant defenses on a community of organisms including insects and pathogens, and 3) the ecology of fear, how herbivores behaviorally and physiologically respond to the presence of predators. This research is conducted using crop plants in agricultural settings as well as their wild relatives in natural communities.
Tigreros, N., A.A. Agrawal & J.S. Thaler. 2020. Genetic variation in parental effects contributes to the evolutionary potential of antipredator plasticity. American Naturalist (bioRxiv748251)
Aflitto, N., and J.S. Thaler. 2020. Predator Pheromone Elicits a Temporally Dependent Non-Consumptive Effect in Prey. Ecological Entomology, 45: 1190-1199. https://doi.org/10.1111/een.12905
Kersch-Becker, M. and J.S. Thaler. 2019. Constitutive and herbivore-induced plant defenses regulate herbivore population growth. Journal of Animal Ecology, 88:1079-1088.
Wetzel, W.C., N. Aflitto, J.S. Thaler. 2018. Plant genotypic diversity interacts with predation risk to influence an insect herbivore across its ontogeny. Ecology, https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.2472
Hermann, S.L. and J.S. Thaler. 2018. The effect of predator presence on the behavioral sequence from host selection to reproduction in an invulnerable stage of insect prey. Oecologia 188: 945-952. 10.1007/s00442-018-4202-7.
Tigreros, N., E. Wang, and J.S. Thaler. 2018. Prey nutritional state drives divergent behavioural and physiological responses to predation risk. Functional Ecology 32:982-989. 10.1111/1365-2435.13046
Kersch-Becker, M.F., Kessler, A, and J.S. Thaler. 2017. Plant defenses limit herbivore population growth by changing predator-prey interactions. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.DOI:
Tigreros, N, R. Norris, E. Wang, J. S. Thaler. 2017. Maternally induced intraclutch cannibalism: an adaptive response to predation risk? Ecology Letters 20: 487-494. 10.1111/ele.12752
Raguso, R.A., Agrawal, A.A., Douglas, A.E., Jander, G., Kessler, A., Poveda, K, and J.S. Thaler. 2015. The raison d'être of chemical ecology. Ecology, 96:617-630. DOI 10.1007/s00442-014-3069-5
BIOEE/ ENTOM 4550 Insect Ecology, BIOEE/ENTOM/BIONB 3690 Chemical Ecology, ENTOM 7670 Professional Development in Entomology
4138 Comstock Hall
jst37 [at] cornell.edu
Jennifer in the news
When new safety protocols forced Antonio DiTommaso, professor and chair of the Soil and Crop Sciences Section in the School of Integrative Plant Science, to downsize his field trials this spring, he was left with 1,800 surplus cabbage seedlings...
- Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station
- School of Integrative Plant Science
- Horticulture Section