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Nathan E. Rank


Dr. Nathan Rank
Nathan E. Rank


(707) 664-3053


Darwin 223


Ph.D. University of California (Davis), 1990

Postdoctoral Experience: 
Free University of Brussels (Belgium), University of Basle (Switzerland), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Switzerland).

Research Interests: 
Evolutionary Ecology; Population & Evolutionary Genetics; Coevolution; Plant-Herbivore-Enemy Interactions

Research Program: 
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:

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

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.

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.

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.

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.