Department of Biological Sciences
Boise State University
Boise, ID 83725-1515
Office Location: Science Building, Room 130
Office Number: 208-426-2394
Fax Number: 208-426-1040
E-Mail Address: email@example.com
B.Sc. (Honours Biology), Carleton University, Ottawa ON, 1989
M.Sc. (Zoology), University of Toronto, Toronto ON, 1992
Ph.D. (Biological Sciences), Simon Fraser University, Burnaby BC, 1998
Postdoctoral Fellow (NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship), University of Alberta, Edmonton AB, 1998-2000
BIOL 192 – General Biology II (zoology section)
ZOOL 305/305G – Entomology
BIOL 426/526 – Insect Ecology
BIOL 598 – Graduate Seminar (various topics)
I am interested in insect-plant interactions, and more generally the behavior and evolutionary ecology of insects and their populations. My projects typically involve the development of a theoretical framework (based upon biological/evolutionary principles) to derive testable hypotheses. These hypotheses are then subject to investigation in the field and/or laboratory. Using this approach I have studied a variety of topics which include: insect-mediated pollination in slickspot peppergrass, seed predation on slickspot peppergrass by harvester ants, predator-prey relationships between crab spiders and insects, host choice decisions in bark beetles, and the function and duration of parental care in subsocial insects.
CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS
1) Interactions between insects and slickspot peppergrass (Lepidium papilliferum), a rare mustard endemic to southwest Idaho. Research topics include seed predation by harvester ants [current focus], herbivory, insect-mediated pollination, and predator-prey interactions between crab spiders and the insects that pollinate L. papilliferum flowers. I have also conducted studies on the mating system and population genetics of L. papilliferum. The genetics research was in collaboration with Dr. Stephen Novak.
2) Host choice decisions in bark beetles (Scolytinae). Some bark beetles are a serious threat to the health of forests throughout North America because of their ability to mass colonize and kill healthy trees. I am interested in developing a general understanding of host choice decisions in bark beetles, as well as exploring the link between the individual host choice decisions and the dynamics of mass colonization on host trees. A part of this research involves looking at the effects of flight on fat utilization and its consequences for host choice decisions.
- Jennifer Crossman. MS Biology candidate. Jennifer is studying the consequences of harvester ant foraging on the seed bank of slickspot peppergrass.
- Matt Schmasow. MS Biology candidate. Matt is studying the foraging decisions of the Owyhee harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex salinus, with emphasis on the consequences for slickspot peppergrass.
- Joshua White. MS Biology 2009. “Seed predation on slickspot peppergrass by the Owyhee harvester ant.” Josh was the recipient of Boise State’s “Distinguished Masters Thesis” Award for 2009.
- Kristine Barney. MA Biology 2009. Project: Using Frequent Low-Stakes Testing as a Learning Tool in an Introductory Biology Course.
- Wyatt Williams. MS Biology 2007. “Host selection in the Douglas-fir beetle following extended periods of flight: the effect of depleted fat reserves on pioneer behavior.”
- Stephanie Billinge. MS Biology 2006. “Reproductive performance as a function of outcrossing distance in Lepidium papilliferum (Brassicaceae), a rare plant endemic to southwest Idaho.”
- Amy Stillman. MS Biology 2006. “Population genetics and mating system of the rare polyploid, Lepidium papilliferum (Brassicaceae), a southwestern Idaho endemic.” (co-supervised with S. Novak)
- Hollie Leavitt. MS Biology 2006. “Pollination and florivory by insects visiting Lepidium papilliferum (Brassicaceae) flowers”
GRADUATE STUDENT OPPORTUNITIES
I have several ongoing projects in the area of seed predation by harvester ants on slickspot peppergrass, a rare mustard endemic to southwestern Idaho. I am also open to considering other projects involving insect ecology and behavior. Please contact me for updates on research opportunities and the availability of teaching assistantships.
- Robertson IC & H Leavitt. 2011. Relative contributions to seed production by floral visitors of slickspot peppergrass, Lepidium papilliferum (Brassicaceae). Arthropod-Plant Interactions, 5: 379-389. DOI1007/s11829-011-09142-7
- White JP & IC Robertson. 2009. Intense seed predation by harvester ants on a rare mustard. Écoscience, 16(4): 508-513.
- Smith JF, Stillman AJ, Larson SR, Culumber CM, Robertson IC, & SJ Novak. 2009. Phylogenetic Relationships among Lepidium papilliferum (L. Henderson) A. Nels. & J. F. Macbr., L. montanum Nutt., and L. davisii Rollins (Brassicaceae). Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society, 136(2): 149-163.
- White JP & IC Robertson. 2009. An unusual life history strategy in Lepidium papilliferum (Brassicaceae), a rare mustard endemic to southwestern Idaho. Northwest Science, 83: 287-290.
- Billinge S & IC Robertson. 2008. Spatial structure and inbreeding depression in slickspot peppergrass, Lepidium papilliferum (Brassicaceae). Botany, 86: 1002-1008.
- Williams WI & IC Robertson. 2008. Using automated flight mills to manipulate fat reserves in Douglas-fir beetles, Dendroctonus pseudotsugae (Hopkins) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Environmental Entomology, 37: 850-856.
- Leavitt H & IC Robertson. 2006. Petal herbivory by chrysomelid beetles (Phyllotreta sp.) is detrimental to pollination and seed production in Lepidium papilliferum (Brassicaceae). Ecological Entomology, 31: 657-660.
- Robertson IC & D Klemash-Maguire. 2005. Crab spiders deter insect visitations to slickspot peppergrass flowers. Oikos, 109: 577-582.
- Robertson IC & AC Ulappa. 2004. Distance between pollen donor and recipient influences fruiting success in slickspot peppergrass, Lepidium papilliferum. Canadian Journal of Botany, 82: 1705-1710.
- Robertson IC. 2004. Importance of outcrossing for fruit production in slickspot peppergrass, Lepidium papilliferum L. (Brassicaceae). Western North American Naturalist, 64: 265-268.
- Robertson IC & D Klemash. 2003. Insect-mediated pollination in slickspot peppergrass, Lepidium papilliferum L. (Brassicaceae), and its implications for population viability. Western North American Naturalist, 63: 333-342.
- Robertson IC. 2000. Reproduction and developmental phenology of Ips perturbatus (Coleoptera: Scolytidae) inhabiting white spruce. Canadian Entomologist, 132: 529-537.
- Roitberg BD, Robertson IC & JGA Tyreman. 1999. Vive la variance: a functional oviposition theory for insect herbivores. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 91: 187-194.
- Robertson IC & BD Roitberg. 1998. Duration of paternal care in pine engraver beetles: why do larger males care less? Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology, 43: 379-386.
- Robertson IC. 1998. Paternal care enhances male reproductive success in pine engraver beetles. Animal Behaviour, 56: 595-602.
- Robertson IC. 1998. Flight muscle changes in male pine engraver beetles during reproduction: the effects of body size, mating status and breeding failure. Physiological Entomology, 23: 75-80.
- Robertson IC, Robertson, WG & BD Roitberg. 1998. A model of mutual tolerance and the origin of communal associations between unrelated females. Journal of Insect Behavior, 11: 265-286.
- Robertson IC, Roitberg BD, Williamson I & SE Senger. 1995. Contextual chemical ecology: an evolutionary approach to the chemical ecology of insects. American Entomologist, 41: 237-239.
- Bouskila A, Robertson IC, Robinson ME, Roitberg BD, Tenhumberg B, Tyre AJ & E vanRanden. 1995. Submaximal oviposition rates in a mymarid parasitoid: choosiness should not be ignored. Ecology, 76: 1990-1993.
- Robertson IC. 1995. Extra-pair copulations in burying beetles (Coleoptera: Silphidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 67: 418-420.
- Robertson IC. 1993. Nest intrusions, infanticide, and parental care in the burying beetle, Nicrophorus orbicollis (Coleoptera: Silphidae). Journal of Zoology, London, 231: 583-593.
- Robertson IC. 1992. Relative abundance of Nicrophorus pustulatus (Coleoptera: Silphidae) in a burying beetle community, with notes on its reproductive behavior. Psyche, 99: 189-198.
- Robertson IC & PJ Weatherhead. 1992. The role of temperature in microhabitat selection by northern water snakes (Nerodia sipedon). Canadian Journal of Zoology 70: 417-422.
- Weatherhead PJ & IC Robertson. 1992. Thermal constraints on swimming performance and escape response of northern water snakes (Nerodia sipedon). Canadian Journal of Zoology 70: 94-98.
- Weatherhead PJ & IC Robertson. 1990. Homing to food by black rat snakes (Elaphe obsoleta). Copeia 1990: 1164-1165