Research overview

Research in the department is as diverse as the faculty and students. Areas in which we are engaged cut across suborganismal, organismal, and applied entomology. Many faculty have research programs that are broadly interdisciplinary and span two or more of these areas. Our research aims to understand the basic biology of how insects perceive and adapt to the environment and how and why their populations grow. We examine how they affect crops and forests, influence ecosystem processes such as nutrient and carbon cycling and the “services” they provide in natural and managed ecosystems such as pollination and pest suppression. We study their diversity and conservation and how we as humans are affected by them.  We invite you to visit individual faculty research pages to get more in-depth descriptions of the diversity of research in Entomology.


Research under this category within the department focuses on insect physiology with specialization on insect parasite interactions (Paskewitz). In addition, the department has a strong molecular biology presence with studies of gene flow and molecular genetics (Schoville).


Entomology faculty have been leaders in the the areas of basic ecology of insects in a variety of natural and managed systems, such as forests, lakes and agroecosystems. Studies in taxonomy (Young), chemical ecology (Lindroth and Guedot) pollination biology (GrattonGroves, and Guedot), vector biology (Paskewitz, Groves, behavioral ecology (Steffan), landscape ecology (Gratton, Trowbridge), and landscape genetics (Schoville) have strong representation in the department. The department is also home to the Wisconsin Insect Research Collection (Young, Brabant), which serves as a repository of arthropod specimens collected primarily from the upper Midwest over the last 170 years.


Faculty in the department extend a long tradition of research on insects as they impact humans. Excellence in agricultural research continues in vegetable crops (Groves), fruit crops (Guedot), field and forage crops (Jensen) where work has continued to advance the application of integrated pest management in agricultural systems. Basic research conducted by faculty in cropping systems also has implications for pest management (Steffan), conservation and bioenergy (Gratton), resource management (TrowbridgeYoung), invasive species management (Guedot). Suborganismal studies on mosquitoes (Paskewitz) and tick-borne diseases (Paskewitz) have advanced novel management strategies for insect-vectored diseases. Research in the department explores the interconnections across scales of biological organization, from molecular and cellular interactions to ecosystem-level studies, in both managed and natural systems, and from basic to applied research. Our faculty often have active collaborations with colleagues in other departments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences – Forest and Wildlife Ecology (GrattonLindroth), Plant Pathology (Groves), Agronomy (Gratton), and beyond the college and University.