Nathan E. Rank

Professor of Biology & Director of Fairfield Osborn Preserve
Ph.D. University of California (Davis), 1990
Voicemail: (707) 664-3053; Email:
Office: Darwin 223

Postdoctoral Experience:

Free University of Brussels (Belgium), University of Basle (Switzerland), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Switzerland).

Research Interests:

Evolutionary Ecology; Population & Evolutionary Genetics; Coevolution; Plant-Herbivore-Enemy Interactions

Research Program:

I am interested in ecological interactions among plants and their herbivores and pathogens, and in the adaptive significance of genetic variation in natural populations of insects. Since 1984, I have studied populations of the leaf beetle Chrysomela aeneicollis in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, focusing first on effects of insect predators on host plant suitability, and then on population and genetic responses to thermal variation in montane populations. I have also collaborated with researchers in Europe on plant-herbivore interactions in related insects. Finally, I am interested in effects of invasive species on native ecological communities. Ongoing work in this area focuses on the invasive pathogen Phytophthera ramorum, which has spread through Sonoma County woodlands since 2000.

Representative Publications:

Otto, S.B., E.L. Berlow, N.E. Rank, J. Smiley and U. Brose. 2007. The diversity and identity of predators drive interaction strengths and trophic cascades in a montane food web. Ecology (in press).

Rank, N.E., D.A. Bruce, D.M. McMillan, C. Barclay and E.P. Dahlhoff. 2007. Phosphoglucose isomerase genotype affects runing speed and heat shock protein expression after exposure to extreme temperatures in a montane willow beetle. Journal of Experimental Biology, 210: 750-764.

Rank, N. E., K. Yturralde and E.P. Dahlhoff. 2006. Role of contests in the scramble competition mating system of a leaf beetle. Journal of Insect Behavior, 19:699-716.

McMillan, D. M., S. L. Fearnley, N. E. Rank and E. P. Dahlhoff. 2005. Natural temperature variation affects larval survival, development, and Hsp70 expression in a leaf beetle. Functional Ecology 19:844-852.

Zvereva, E.L., N. E. Rank. 2004. Fly parasitoid Megaselia opacicornis uses defensive secretions of the leaf beetle Chrysomela lapponica to locate its host. Oecologia 140:516-522.

Neargarder, G. G., E. P. Dahlhoff & N. E. Rank. 2003. Variation in thermal tolerance and HSP70 expression is linked to phosphoglucose isomerase genotype in a montane leaf beetle. Functional Ecology 17:213-221.

Rank, N.E. & E.P. Dahlhoff. 2002. Allele frequency shifts in response to climate change and physiological consequences of allozyme variation in a montane insect. Evolution 56: 2278-2289.

Course Offerings:

Evolution; Biometry; Entomology; Genetics, Evolution & Ecology; Diversity, Structure & Function.