Lynn Adler

Photograph of First Last

Associate Professor

Contact Info

Phone: 413-545-1060
Office: 209E Fernald Hall


B.S., Brown University, 1993

Ph.D., University of California at Davis, 2000


University of Arizona, 2000-2001

Research Interests

Ecology and evolution of insect-plant interactions

Although many ecological and evolutionary studies focus on single species or two-species interactions, there is a growing recognition that the factors determining the distribution and abundance of species and the evolution of phenotypic traits can only be understood in the context of multiple interactions. For example, interactions with antagonists and mutualists have historically been studied independently, although plants are often under simultaneous and potentially conflicting selective pressures exerted by both groups. My research integrates plant-animal interactions across mutualisms and antagonisms, including floral, foliar, and belowground tissues, to arrive at a more complete understanding of how multiple species select on resistance and attractive traits. My approach has combined novel techniques and experimental manipulations in the field with greenhouse and laboratory experiments to dissect aspects of this complex empirical question, and involves studies in both basic and applied systems.

Representative Publications

Milano, N.J., Barber, N.A. and L.S. Adler. (in review). Leaf herbivory reduces the preference of a specialist root herbivore of cucumber. Ecology.

Barber, N.A., Kiers, E.T., Theis, N., Hazzard, R.V. and L.S. Adler (in press). Linking agricultural practices, myccorhizal fungi, and traits mediating plant-insect interactions. Ecological Applications.

Soper Gorden, N.L. and L.S. Adler. (in press). Abiotic conditions affect antagonists and mutulalists in Impatiens capensis. American Journal of Botany.

Gillespie, S.D. and L.S. Adler. 2013. Indirect effects on mutualisms: Parasitism of bumble bees and pollination service to plants. Ecology, 94(2): 454-64.

Adler, L.S., Seifert, M.G., Wink, M. and Morse, G.E. 2012. Reliance on pollinators predicts defensive chemistry across tobacco species. Ecology Letters, 15: 1140-48.

Barber, N.A., Adler, L.S., *Theis, N., *Kiers, E.T., and R.V. Hazzard. 2012. Herbivory reduces plant interactions with above- and belowground antagonists and mutualists. Ecology , 93(7): 1560-70.

Theis, N., and L.S. Adler. 2012. Advertising to the enemy: Enhanced floral fragrance increases beetle attraction and reduces plant fitness. Ecology, 93(2): 430-35.

Adler, L.S. and R.E. Irwin. 2012. Nectar alkaloids decrease pollination and reproduction in a native plant. Oecologia, 168(4): 1033-41.

O’Connell, J.M., Sandler, H.A., Adler, L.S., and Caruso, F.L. 2011. Controlled studies further the development of practical guidelines to manage dodder (Cuscuta gronovii) in cranberry production with short-term flooding. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 26(4): 269-75.

Mayer C., Adler, L.S., Armbruster, W.S., Dafni, A., Eardley, C., Huang, S.Q., Kevan, P.G., Ollerton, J., Packer, L., Ssymank, A., Stout, J.C., Potts, S.G. 2011. Pollination ecology in the 21st century: Key questions for future research. Journal of Pollination Ecology, 3(2): 8-23.

Barber, N.A., Adler, L.S. and Bernardo, H.L. 2011. Effects of above- and belowground herbivory on growth, pollination, and reproduction in cucumber. Oecologia, 165: 377-86.

Cavanagh, A., Adler, L.S., and Hazzard, R.V. 2010. Buttercup squash provides a marketable alternative to blue hubbard as a trap crop for control of striped cucumber beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Environmental Entomology, 39(6): 1953-60.

Halpern, S.L., Adler, L.S., and M. Wink. 2010. Leaf herbivory and drought stress affect floral attractive and defensive traits in Nicotiana quadrivalvis (Solanaceae). Oecologia, 163: 961-971.

Kiers, E.T., Adler, L.S.,, Grman, E.L. and M.G.A. Van Der Heijden. 2010. The role of jasmonates in mediating aboveground and belowground mutualisms. Functional Ecology, 24: 434-43.

Sharp, D.N., Lentz-Ronning, A.J., Barron, J. and L.S. Adler. 2009. The effect of larval diet and sex on nectar nicotine feeding preferences in Manduca sexta (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae). Florida Entomologist, 92(2): 374-76.

Theis, N., Kesler, K. and L.S. Adler. 2009. Leaf herbivory increases floral fragrance in male but not female Cucurbita pepo subsp. texana (Cucurbitaceae) flowers. American Journal of Botany, 96(5): 897-903.

Cavanagh, A., Hazzard, R.V., Adler, L.S., and J, Boucher. 2009. Using trap crops for control of Acalymma vittatum (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) reduces insecticide use in butternut squash. Journal of Economic Entomology, 102(3): 1101-07.

Adler, L.S. and R.V. Hazzard. 2009. A comparison of perimeter trap crop varieties: Effects on herbivory, pollination and yield in butternut squash. Environmental Entomology, 38(1): 207-215.

Hladun, K. and L.S. Adler. 2009. Influence of leaf herbivory, root herbivory and pollination on plant performance in Cucurbita moschata. Ecological Entomology, 34: 144-52.

Irwin, R.E. and L.S. Adler. 2008. Nectar secondary compounds affect self-pollen transfer: implications for female and male plant reproduction. Ecology, 89(8): 2207-17.

Elliott, S.E., Irwin, R.E., Adler, L.S., and N.M. Williams. 2008. Nectar alkaloids do not affect offspring performance of a native solitary bee, Osmia lignaria (Megachilidae). Ecological Entomology, 33(2): 298-304.

Hladun, K. and L.S. Adler. 2008. Effects of perimeter trap crop pollen on crop reproduction in butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata). Hortscience, 43(1): 276-78.

Adler, L.S.. 2007. Selection by pollinators and herbivores on attraction and defense. Pages 162-173 in: Tilmon, K. J. (ed.), Specialization, speciation and radiation: The evolutionary biology of herbivorous insects. University of California Press, Berkeley.

Andrews, E.S., Theis, N. and L.S. Adler. 2007. Pollinator and herbivore attraction to Cucurbita floral volatiles. Journal of Chemical Ecology 33: 1682-1691.

Adler, L.S., de Valpine, P. Harte, J. and J. Call. 2007. Effects of long-term experimental warming on aphid density in the field. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 80(2): 156-168.

Adler, L.S., Wink, M., Distl, M. and A.J. Lentz. 2007. A reply to Baldwin: Critique does not weaken major conclusions. Ecology Letters, 10(3): E2-E3.

Preisser, E.L., Gibson, S.E., Adler, L.S. and E.E. Lewis. 2007. Underground herbivory and the costs of constitutive defense in tobacco. Acta Oecologica, 31(2): 210-15.

Adler, L.S., Wink, M., Distl, M. and A.J. Lentz. 2006. Leaf herbivory and nutrients increase nectar alkaloids. Ecology Letters, 9: 960-67.

Irwin, R.E. and L.S. Adler. 2006. Correlations among traits associated with herbivore resistance and pollination: implications for multispecies plant-animal interactions. American Journal of Botany, 93(1): 64-72.

Adler, L.S. and R.E. Irwin 2006. Comparison of pollen transfer dynamics by multiple floral visitors: experiments with pollen and fluorescent dye. Annals of Botany, 97: 141-50.

Adler, L.S. and R.E. Irwin. 2005. Ecological costs and benefits of defenses in nectar. Ecology, 86(11): 2968-2978.

Gaimari, S.D., Adler, L.S. and S.J. Scheffer. 2004. Plant host affiliation and redescription of Phytomyza subtenella Frost (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 106(3): 501-507.

Adler, L.S. and J.L. Bronstein. 2004. Attracting antagonists: Does floral nectar increase leaf herbivory? Ecology, 85(6): 1519-26.

Irwin, R.E., Adler, L.S., and A.K. Brody. 2004. The dual role of floral traits: pollinator attraction and plant defense. Ecology, 85(6): 1503-11.

Adler, L.S. 2004. Size-mediated performance of a generalist herbivore feeding on mixed diets. Southwestern Naturalist, 49(2): 189-96.

Adler, L.S. and P.M. Kittelson. 2004. Variation in Lupinus arboreus alkaloid profiles and relationships with multiple herbivores. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 32(4): 371-90.

Adler, L.S. 2003. Host species affects herbivory, pollination and reproduction in experiments with parasitic Castilleja. Ecology, 84(8): 2083-91.

Adler, L.S. 2002. Host effects on herbivory and pollination in a hemiparasitic plant. Ecology, 83(10): 2700-10.

Adler, L.S., Karban, R. and S.Y. Strauss. 2001. Direct and indirect effects of alkaloids on plant fitness via herbivory and pollination. Ecology, 82(7): 2032-44.

Adler, L.S. and M. Wink. 2001. Transfer of alkaloids from hosts to hemiparasites in two Castilleja-Lupinus associations: analysis of floral and vegetative tissues. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 29(6): 551-61.
• Featured in the “Weird Plants Archives” at:

Adler, L.S. 2000. Alkaloid uptake increases fitness in a hemiparasitic plant via reduced herbivory and increased pollination. The American Naturalist, 156: 92-99.

Adler, L.S. 2000. The ecological significance of toxic nectar. Oikos, 91: 409-420.
• Reviewed in TREE 2001, 16: 176.

Karban, R., Agrawal, A.A., Thaler, J.S. and L.S. Adler. 1999. Induced plant responses and information content about risk of herbivory. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 14: 443-47.

Adler, L.S., Schmitt, J., and M.D. Bowers. 1995. Genetic variation in defensive chemistry in Plantago lanceolata (Plantaginaceae) and its effect on the specialist herbivore Junonia coenia (Nymphalidae). Oecologia, 101: 75-85.

Adler, L.S., Wikler, K., Wyndham, F.S., Linder, C.R. and J. Schmitt. 1993. Potential for persistence of genes escaped from canola: germination cues in crop, wild and crop-wild hybrid Brassica rapa. Functional Ecology, 7: 736-745.

Peer-Reviewed Publications Mentored in the Adler Lab

Gillespie, S. 2010. Factors affecting parasite prevalence among wild bumblebees. Ecological Entomology, 35(6): 737-747.

Edited Volumes and Other Publications

Adler, L.S. and R.E. Irwin (submitted). What you smell is more important than what you see? Natural selection on floral scent (Commentary). New Phytologist.

Adler, L.S. 2008. Studying the sweet stuff. Review of S. W. Nicolson, M. Nepi, and E. Pacini, Eds. Nectaries and nectar. In: Ecology, 89(4): 1177-78.

Irwin, R.E. and L.S. Adler, editors. 2004. Nectar Ecology Special Feature. Ecology, 85(6): 1477-1533.

Irwin, R.E., Adler, L.S. and Agrawal, A.A. 2004. Community and evolutionary ecology of nectar. Ecology, 85(6): 1477-78.

Agrawal, A.A. and L.S. Adler. 2003. Plant-animal interactions for the classroom. Review of C. Herrera & O. Pellmyr, Eds. Plant-animal interactions. In: Ecology, 84(3): 807-808.