Nathan E. Rank
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 and Ecology
BIOL 323 Entomology
BIOL 500s Adaption and Evolution
Selected Publications & Presentations
Bracewell, R. R., J. H. Stillman, E. P. Dahlhoff, E. Smeds, C. Kamalakar, D. Bachtrog, C. M. Williams, N.E. Rank. 2023. A chromosome scale genome assembly and evaluation of mtDNA variation in the willow leaf beetle Chrysomela aeneicollis. G3-Genes Genomes Genetics. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.04.19.537531
Roberts, K. T., J. H. Stillman, N. E. Rank, E. P. Dahlhoff, R.R. Bracewell, J. Elmore, and C. M. Williams. 2023. Transcriptomic evidence indicates that montane leaf beetles prioritize digestion and reproduction in a sex-specific manner during emergence from dormancy. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part D: Genomics and Proteomics 47 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbd.2023.101088.
Roberts, K. T., N. E. Rank, E. P. Dahlhoff, J. H. Stillman, and C. M. Williams. 2021. Snow modulates winter energy use and cold exposure across an elevation gradient in a montane ectotherm. Global Change Biology. 27(23): 6103-6116. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15912
Rank, N. E., P. Mardulyn, S. J. Heidl, K. T. Roberts, N. A. Zavala and E. P. Dahlhoff. 2020. Mitonuclear interactions influence performance and reproductive characters in a montane leaf beetle. Evolution 74(8): 1724-1740. https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.13962
Yuzon, J.D., Travadon, R., Malar C, M., Tripathy, S., Rank, N., Mehl, H.K., Rizzo, D.M., Cobb, R., Small, C., Tang, T., McCown, H.E., Garbelotto, M., Kasuga, T. 2020. Asexual evolution and forest conditions drive genetic parallelism in Phytophthora ramorum. Microorganisms 8: 940.
Dahlhoff E. P., V. C. Dahlhoff, C. A. Grainger, N. A. Zavala, D. Otepola-Bello, K. T. Roberts, S. J. Heidl, B. A. Sargent, J. T. Smiley and N. E. Rank. 2019. Getting chased up the mountain- high elevation may limit performance and fitness characters in a montane insect. Functional Ecology 33(5): 809-818. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13286
Wininger, K. and N. E. Rank. 2017. Evolutionary dynamics of interactions between plants and their enemies: comparison of herbivorous insects and pathogens. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1408(1): 46-60.