Welcome to the Woods Lab!

We are a loosely-affiliated group of biologists interested in physiological ecology.

In the past two decades, the field of physiological ecology has been undergoing a renaissance, stimulated by new conceptual approaches and new tools for analysis and experimentation. We work at this interface. Take your pick of descriptions: we either do physiology in an ecologically relevant context, or we do ecology that focuses on physiological mechanisms. There is also a strong comparative and evolutionary bent to our work, which often integrates modern progress in the comparative method and phylogenetics to inform core questions in physiological ecology.

At the moment, we are working primarily on the physiological ecology of plant-insect interactions. These interactions are enormously diverse and play key roles in ecosystems worldwide, but almost no work has examined the physical contexts in which those interactions take place. My students, postdocs, and I have been working on problems in this area, asking questions about (1) how physical microclimates affect chemical and biotic aspects of plant-insect interactions, and (2) how plant cues mediate tritrophic interactions between plants, their herbivores, and the predators and parasitoids of those herbivores. Other projects are focused on aspects of insect respiratory physiology, the developmental physiology of insect eggs, and incorporating information theory into both plant-insect signaling and the evolution of physiological homeostasis.