Welcome to the Insect Ecology Lab in the Department of Biology at the University of Dayton! We are interested in questions at the interface of community and ecosystem ecology, such as: what is the relative importance of factors that structure invertebrate communities? How does the diversity of invertebrate communities affect how an ecosystem functions? Dr. Chelse Prather has studied these types of questions in a variety of ecosystems from rainforests in Puerto Rico to rare grasslands in Texas.


Invertebrates represent over 95% of eukaryotic species, are very numerous in most ecosystems globally, and fill lots of different roles in these ecosystems. Even though humans would likely not be able to live on Earth without invertebrates, most people view them negatively. Human under-appreciation of the positive things that invertebrates do for motivates our lab to better understand the structure of invertebrate communities, how this structure affects ecosystem functioning, and ultimately how invertebrate communities affect humans and their well-being.


Dr. Prather has lots of other varied interests as well, including invasive species, philosophy of ecology, restoration ecology and much more. Explore this site if this research piques your interest. Dr. Prather is currently looking for a graduate student, and is always looking for motivated undergrads that are not afraid of insects, early mornings, or inclement weather to join her lab!


Latest Lab News

Fall 2016: We’ve got 7 new undergrads hard at work in the lab–check out people for details!

August 2016: Ryan Riehart joined the lab as a PhD student. Welcome, Ryan! Dr. Prather moved the lab to the University of Dayton.

April 2016: A USDA grant was recently funded, in collaboration with Dr. Angela Laws and others!

April 2015: An NSF grant was recently funded in the lab!



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