Former Lab Members

Micah FletcherMicah Fletcher, sitting at the base of a tree

I am interested in the mate searching system of the treehopper Tylopelta gibbera. In this species, males will fly from plant to plant broadcasting vibrational advertisement signals. If a stationary female responds, the two will start a call-and-response duet and the male will hone in on her responses and mate with her.

But this marco-polo system does not occur in isolation. If more than one male is on the same plant as a female, both will produce disruptive signals during their rival’s advertisement signals. Since the female

An adult Tylopelta gibbera treehopper on a stem with two nymphs

Tylopelta gibbera, one adult treehopper with two nymphs

mates with only the first male to arrive and males must be stationary to both signal and listen, there is strong selection for a strategy that maximizes searching efficiency and minimizes rival male success. I’m working to understand how male disruptive signals inhibit female response and what strategies males use (e.g. differential timing and duration of disruptive signals) to gain an edge in the race to mate.

In addition to plants roles as passive vibrational channels for insect-to-insect communication, I’m interested in the more active role plants play in their vibrational umwelt, by investigating plant perception of herbivore vibrations.

Micah capturing recordings of insect vibrations in the field. Here I am using a phono cartridge to eavesdrop on conversations in a patch of grass along a local creek.

I also enjoy capturing recordings of insect vibrations in the field. Here I am using a phono cartridge to eavesdrop on conversations in a patch of grass along a local creek.

Please follow this link if you’d like to hear samples of some of the things I recorded while out prospecting for vibrational communication: Micah Fletcher’s Blog

Cameron Weber

​I work on furthering the data acquisition, processing, and playback methods used in the lab to facilitate future research on vibrational insect communication.  This includes ​the adaptation of motion devices and sensors for studying insect vibrations on plants and the writing of software to analyze gathered vibration data. 

Flavia by the oceanFlavia Barbosa; Ph.D. (2011)

Postcopulatory Sexual Selection in a Soldier Fly

NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Biology
Institut de Recherche sur la Biologie de l’Insecte” in Tours, France.


Jennifer Hamel; Ph.D. (2011)Jen Hamel

Communication about Predation Risk between Parents and Offspring Groups in Treehoppers

Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
Elon University
McMichael Science Bldg, 124G
2625 Campus Box, Elon, NC 27244
phone: (336) 278-5577

Peter Marting; (2011)

Peter Marting on a ladder in a tropical forest canopy

Competitive signal masking in a duetting treehopper

Animal Behavior PhD Student School of Life Sciences Arizona State University 926 S Wilson St., Tempe AZ (314) 378-5621






Laura Sullivan-Beckers; Ph.D. (2008)Laura Sullivan-Beckers

The Ecology of Mate Choice: Identifying the Agents of Sexual Selection on Mating Signals in Enchenopa Treehoppers

Contact Information Coming


Paul De Luca; Ph.D. (2007)Paul De Luca

Age effects on reproductive behavior in the treehopper Umbonia crassicornis (Hemiptera: Membracidae)

Contact Information Coming



Frédéric Legendre; Post-Doc (2008)Frederic Legendre

The evolution of social behavior

Systématique et Evolution
Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle


Gabe McNett; Ph.D. (2007)Gabe McNett

Noise and signal transmission properties as agents of selection in the vibrational communication environment.

Associate Professor
Dept. of Biology
501 Westminster Ave.
Westminster College
Fulton, MO 65251



Rob Snyder; Ph.D. (2008)

Diversification in plant feeding insects: Patterns of host-plant specialization and mating signal evolution inferred from species-level phylogeny and population genetics.

Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
SUNY Potsdam
Potsdam, NY


Karthick Ramaswamy; Ph.D. (2009)Karthik Ramaswarmy




Rafael Rodríguez; Post-Doc (2002-2006)Rafael Rodriguez

Sexual selection and communication systems

Associate Professor 
Department of Biological Science 
Lapham Hall, P.O. Box 413 
3209 N. Maryland Avenue
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milkwaukee, WI 53203


Chung-Ping Lin; Post-Doc (2003-2004)Chung-Ping Lin

Molecular systematics, phylogeography

Professor (full)
Department of Life Sciences
National Taiwan Normal University
Taipei, Taiwan



Holly Shugart; MS (2004)

Holly Shugart

Feeding ecology and maternal care in the treehopper Umbonia crassicornis

Ph.D. Student
Department of Entomology and Nematology
University of Florida, Gainesville