Ph.D. University of California (Davis), 1990
Free University of Brussels (Belgium), University of Basle (Switzerland), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Switzerland).
Evolutionary Ecology; Population & Evolutionary Genetics; Coevolution; Plant-Herbivore-Enemy Interactions
I am interested in ecological interactions among plants and their herbivores and pathogens, and in the adaptive significance of genetic variation in natural populations of insects. Since 1984, I have studied populations of the leaf beetle Chrysomela aeneicollis in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, focusing first on effects of insect predators on host plant suitability, and then on population and genetic responses to thermal variation in montane populations. I have also collaborated with researchers in Europe on plant-herbivore interactions in related insects. Finally, I am interested in effects of invasive species on native ecological communities. Ongoing work in this area focuses on the invasive pathogen Phytophthera ramorum, which has spread through Sonoma County woodlands since 2000.
Current Course Offerings:
BIOL 320 - Evolution & Ecology
BIOL 323 - Entomology
BIOL 500s - Adaption and Evolution
Johnston, S., M. Cohen, T. Torok, R. Meentemeyer and N. Rank. 2016. Host Phenology and Leaf Effects on Susceptibility of California Bay Laurel toPhytophthora ramorum. Phytopathology 106: 47-55.
Haas, S., J. Cushman, W. Dillon, N. Rank, D. Rizzo and R. Meentemeyer. 2015. Effects of Individual, Community and Landscape Drivers on the Dynamics of a Wildland Forest Epidemic. Ecology: DOI: 10.1890/15-0767.1.
Boychuk, E., J. Smiley, E. Dahlhoff, M. Bernards, N. Rank and B. Sinclair. 2015. Cold tolerance of the montane Sierra leaf beetle, Chrysomela aeneicollis. Journal of Insect Physiology 81: 157-166.
Dellicour, S., S. Fearnley, A. Lombal, S. Heidl, E. Dahlhoff, N. Rank and P. Mardulyn. 2014. Inferring past and present connectivity across the range of a North American leaf beetle from multi-locus sequence data: combining ecological-niche modeling and a geographically explicit model of coalescence. Evolution 68: 2371-2385.
Dick, C., N. Rank, M. McCarthy, S. McWeeney, D. Hollis and E. Dahlhoff. 2013. Effects of Temperature Variation on Male Behavior and Mating Success in a Montane Beetle. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 86: 432-440.
Anacker, B., N. Rank, D. Huberli, M. Garbelotto, S. Gordon, T. Harnik, R. Whitkus and R. Meentemeyer. 2008. Susceptibility to Phytophthora ramorum in a key infectious host. New Phytologist 177: 756-766.
Otto, S.B., E.L. Berlow, N.E. Rank, J. Smiley and U. Brose. 2007. The diversity and identity of predators drive interaction strengths and trophic cascades in a montane food web. Ecology (in press).
Rank, N.E., D.A. Bruce, D.M. McMillan, C. Barclay and E.P. Dahlhoff. 2007. Phosphoglucose isomerase genotype affects runing speed and heat shock protein expression after exposure to extreme temperatures in a montane willow beetle. Journal of Experimental Biology, 210: 750-764.