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Jennifer Thaler


photo of Jennifer Thaler

Comstock Hall-Academic II, Room 4138
E145 Corson Hall

Educational Background

Ph.D., University of California, Davis (1999)

B.A., Wellseley College (1993)



I study the ecological interactions between plants, herbivores, and carnivores in wild and agricultural Solanaceous plant species. My approach focuses on understanding behavioral and phytochemical mechanisms of such tri-trophic interactions, testing theory on the organization of multi-trophic communities, and generating novel strategies to control insect pests.

I teach a variety of courses at Cornell including: BioEE 3690/ENTOM 3690/BioNB 3690 Chemical Ecology, BioEE 4550/ENTOM 4550 Insect Ecology, and BioEE 1610 Ecology and the Environment.


Population and community ecology, plant-insect interactions, tri-trophic interactions, chemical ecology, disease


  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Graduate Fields

  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Entomology


My research goals are to develop a predictive framework for understanding the complex interactions that occur between plant and insect species. Studies of fundamental ecological processes, in both agricultural and wild systems, can provide insight into controlling insect pests and understanding the natural world. My research focuses on ecological interactions between plants, herbivores, and carnivores in agricultural and wild Solanaceous plants. Current research projects focus on understanding the non-consumptive effects of predators on prey and understanding how plants integrate their defenses against multiple attackers.



  • Cook-Patton, S.C., S.H. McArt, A.L. Parachnowitsch, J.S. Thaler, and A. A. Agrawal. 2011. A direct comparison of the consequences of plant genotypic and species diversity on communities and ecosystem function. Ecology.
  • Kaplan, I. and J.S. Thaler. 2011. Do plant defenses enhance or diminish prey suppression by omnivorous Heteroptera? Biological Control (in press).
  • Thaler, J.S., A.A. Agrawal, and R. Halitschke. 2010. Salicylate-mediated interactions between pathogens and herbivores.  Ecology 91:1075-1082.
  • Kaplan, I. and J.S. Thaler. 2010. Plant resistance attenuates the consumptive and non-consumptive impacts of predators on prey. Oikos 119:1105-1103.
  • Rodriguez-Saona, C.R., R.O. Musser, H. Vogel, S.M. Hum-Musser, and J.S. Thaler. 2010. Molecular, biochemical, and organismal analyses of tomato plants simultaneously attacked by herbivores from two feeding guilds. Journal of Chemical Ecology 36:1043-1057.
  • Scott, I. M., J.S. Thaler, and J.G. Scott. 2010. Response of a generalist herbivore Trichoplusia ni to jasmonate-mediated induced defense in tomato. Journal of Chemical Ecology 36:490-499.
  • Griffin, C.A. and J.S. Thaler. 2006. Insect predators affect plant resistance via density- and trait-mediated indirect interactions. Ecology Letters 9:338-346.
  • Stout, M.J., J.S. Thaler, and B. Thomma. 2006. Plant-mediated interactions between arthropod herbivores and plant pathogens.  Annual Review of Entomology 51:663-689.
  • Viswanathan, D.V., A.J.T. Narwani, and J.S. Thaler. 2005. Specificity in induced plant responses shapes patterns of herbivore occurrence on Solanum dulcamara. Ecology 86:886-896.
  • Rodriguez-Saona, C. and J.S. Thaler. 2005. Herbivore-induced responses and patch heterogeneity affect abundance of arthropods on plants.  Ecological Entomology 30:156-163.