Tropical Biology, Spring Semester, 2010



Dr. Lee Dyer



Thursday 230-400PM (or by appointment); FA 141













January 18


Introduction to the course


Dyer et al. 2007

Stork 2007

 Novotny et al. 2007


January 20


Introduction to tropical research


January 25


Introduction to Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

 Hay et al. 2004

Oksanen 1988


January 27


Introduction to Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Mittelbach et al. 2007



February 1


Tropical life zones

Powell et al. 2000

Olson et al. 2001

Yates et al. 2000


February 3


Discussion of papers



February 8


8 representative sites


8 sites


February 10


The rainforest and how it functions


Leigh 2009

Jetz et al. 2009

Novotny et al. 2010


February 15


February 22


The rainforest and how it functions


Wright 2005


Chave 2009




February 24


Evolution in the tropics: biodiversity


Dobzhansky 1950

Hewitt 2004

Archibald et al. 2010



March 1


Diversity; the origins of neutral theory


Hubbell et al. 1999 

Schnitzer et al. 2009 



March 3


Exam 1 (100 points)




March 8


Tropical plants: Introduction


Secondary Forest Trees in Ecuador


Webb et al. 2009



March 10


Tropical plant compounds and Bioprospecting


Dyer et al. 2004

Kursar et al. 2009


March 22-24


Plant-Animal Interactions


Dyer 2009


March 29


Plant-Animal Interactions


Gorelick 2001



March 31


Tropical birds and mammals


 Van Bael and Brawn 2005


Amori et al. 2010


April 5


Tropical fish, amphibians and reptiles

 Smith et al. 2005

Poulin 2001



April 7


Exam 2 (100 points)




April 12-14


Tropical insects: Biodiversity

ODowd et al. 2003

Craft et al. 2010


April 19


Tropical insects and humans: Agriculture and Malaria 


Carlson et al. 2009

Barbieri et al. 2005



April 19


Humans and the rainforest: cities, population growth, hunter-gatherer indigenous tribes, emerging infectious diseases


Holt 2005


Siges et al. 2005

Agosta et al. 2010


April 21


Humans and the rainforest: Bioprospecting



Kursar et al. 2009



April 26

Global environmental problems and the future of tropical ecosystems

Vitousek et al. 1997


 April 28

 Global environmental problems and the future of tropical ecosystems


Laurance 2009


Corlett and Primack 2009


 May 3

Graduate Student Lectures

receive take home





Selected References


Armbruster W.S. & Baldwin B.G. Switch from specialized to generalized pollination. Nature 394:632. 1998.

Blackburn, T. M. 2004. Method in macroecology. Basic and Applied Ecology 5:401-412.

Briskin, D. P. 2000. Medicinal plants and phytomedicines. Linking plant biochemistry and physiology to human health. Plant Physiology 124:507-514.

Coley, P. D. 1998. Possible effects of climate change on plant/herbivore interactions in moist tropical forests. Climate Change 39:315-328.

Cragg, G. M., M. R. Boyd, J. H. Cardellina II, D. J. Newman, K. M. Snader, and T. G. McCloud. 1994. Ethnobotany and drug discovery: the experience of the US National Cancer Institute. Pages 178-193 in Ethnobotany and the search for new drugs. John Wiley and Sons, New York.

Dyer, L. A., M. S. Singer, J. T. Lill, J. O. Stireman, G. L. Gentry, R. J. Marquis, R. E. Ricklefs, H. F. Greeney, D. L. WAGNER, H. C. Morais, I. R. Diniz, T. A. Kursar, and P. D. Coley. 2007. Host specificity of Lepidoptera in tropical and temperate forests. Nature 448:696-6U9.

Dyer, L. A., D. K. Letourneau, C. D. Dodson, M. A. Tobler, J. O. Stireman, and A. Hsu. 2004. Ecological causes and consequences of variation in defensive chemistry of a Neotropical shrub. Ecology 85:2795-2803.

Gilbert, L. E., and J. T. Smiley. 1978. Determinants of local diversity in phytophagous insects: host specialists in tropical environments. Pages 89-104 in L. A. Mound, and N. Waloff editors. Diversity of insect faunas. Blackwell, Oxford.

Gorelick, R. 2001. Did insect pollination cause increased seed plant diversity? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 74:407-427.

Harrington, R., I. Woiwod, and T. Sparks. 1999. Climate change and trophic interactions. TREE 14:146-149.

Holdridge L. R., W. C. Grenke, W. H. Hatheway, T. Liang, and J. A. Tosi. 1971. Forest environments in tropical life zones. Pergamon, London.

Huston M. A. 1994. Biological Diversity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Hay, M. E., J. D. Parker, D. E. Burkepile, C. C. Caudill, A. E. Wilson, Z. P. Hallinan, and A. D. Chequer. 2004. Mutualisms and aquatic community structure: The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Annual Review of Ecology Evolution and Systematics 35:175-197.

Mittelbach, G. G., D. W. Schemske, H. V. Cornell, A. P. Allen, J. M. Brown, M. B. Bush, S. P. Harrison, A. H. Hurlbert, N. Knowlton, H. A. Lessios, C. M. McCain, A. R. McCune, L. A. McDade, M. A. McPeek, T. J. Near, T. D. Price, R. E. Ricklefs, K. Roy, D. F. Sax, D. Schluter, J. M. Sobel, and M. Turelli. 2007. Evolution and the latitudinal diversity gradient: speciation, extinction and biogeography. Ecology Letters 10:315-331.

Novotny, V., Y. Basset, J. Auga, W. Boen, C. Dal, P. Drozd, M. Kasbal, B. Isua, R. Kutil, M. Manumbor, and K. Molem. 1999. Predation risk for herbivorous insects on tropical vegetation: A search for enemy-free space and time. Australian Journal of Ecology 24:477-483.

Oksanen, L. 1988. Ecosystem organization: mutualism and cybernetics or plain darwinian struggle for existence? American Naturalist 131:424-444.

Rahbek, C. 1997. The relationship among area, elevation, and regional species richness in neotropical birds. American Naturalist 149:875-902.

Rohde, K. 1992. Latitudinal gradients in species diversity: the search for the primary cause. Oikos 65:514-527.

Sevenet, T. 1997. Tropical plants and bioactive natural substances. Acta Botanica Gallica 144:449-462.

Singer, M. S., and J. O. Stireman. 2005. The tri-trophic niche concept and adaptive radiation of phytophagous insects. Ecology Letters 8:1247-1255.

Stireman, J. O., L. A. Dyer, D. H. Janzen, M. S. Singer, J. T. Li, R. J. Marquis, R. E. Ricklefs, G. L. Gentry, W. Hallwachs, P. D. Coley, J. A. Barone, H. F. Greeney, H. Connahs, P. Barbosa, H. C. Morais, and I. R. Diniz. 2005. Climatic unpredictability and parasitism of caterpillars: Implications of global warming. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102:17384-17387.

Stork, N. E. 2007. Biodiversity - World of insects. Nature 448:657-658.

Terborgh, J. 1992. Maintenance of diversity in tropical forests. Biotropica 24:283-292.

Van Bael, S. A., and J. D. Brawn. 2005. The direct and indirect effects of insectivory by birds in two contrasting Neotropical forests (vol 143, pg 106, 2005). Oecologia 145:658-668.

Vitousek, P. M., H. A. Mooney, J. Lubchenco, and J. M. Melillo. 1997. Human domination of Earth's ecosystems. Science 277:494-499.

Wright, S. J. 2002. Plant diversity in tropical forests: a review of mechanisms of species coexistence. Oecologia 130:1-14.

Young A. M. 1982. Population biology of tropical insects. Plenum Press, New York.