Debbie Finke (she/her)


Director of Undergraduate Studies

Division of Plant Sciences

University of Missouri

Email: finked [at]

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Katie Harris

PhD Student: 

Katie studies monarch butterfly ecology. She is specifically interested in adult female monarch host plant selection and the effects of aphid competitors.

Email: kmlaplante [at] 

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Kyle Paddock (he/his)

PhD Student: 

Kyle is a USDA-NIFA predoctoral fellow interested in the evolution and ecology of insect-microbe interactions. His current work focuses on how agricultural management practices affect western corn rootworm microbiomes.

Email: paddockk [at] 

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Jared Brabant

MS Student: 

Jared is interested in Missouri bumble bee communities and their floral resource usage. His main project investigates the effects that seed source has on bumble bee visitation to native wildflowers. 

Email: jmbmdb [at] 


Leah Gastonguay

PhD Student: 

Leah is a MU Life Science Fellow. Her research focuses on the pollination and biocontrol services of syrphid flies. She's interested in developing methods to maximize these ecosystem services in crop environments.

Email: lg7mb [at] 


Josh Klostermann

PhD Student: 

Josh is a student of melittology, botany, and community ecology with the goal of being a regional expert in these fields. His current research is focused on the effects of landscape disturbance and restoration on bee and wasp communities. He is an avid wildlife photographer and all-around bug nut.

Email: jpkhr9 [at] 

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Terry Woods

Research Specialist: 

Terry Woods studies best practices for the establishment and management of bumble bee and monarch habitat. He is heavily involved with pollinator outreach and education around the state.

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Emma Critchfield

Undergraduate Researcher: 

Emma is an undergraduate researcher studying the behavioral interactions between aphids and their natural enemies.



Jessica Kansman

Ph.D. 2020

Project title: Consequences of plant water limitation for aphids, their natural enemies, and insect communities


Elizabeth Long 

Ph.D. 2013

Project title: Predator diversity impacts herbivore abundance and behavior with cascading effects on the prevalence of a vector-borne plant pathogen


Kathryn Ingerslew

Ph.D. 2016

Project title: Mechanisms of non-consumptive effects of parasitoid wasps on aphid populations: enhancing aphid suppression by increasing natural enemy and plant diversity


Binita Shrestha

M.S. 2017

Project title: Quantifying the effects of insectary plants on the abundance of natural enemies: implications for controlling insect pests in an organic cabbage eco-system?


Man Huynh

Ph.D. 2018

Project title: Development and improvement of artificial diets for larvae of Diabrotica species using multidimensional design space techniques


Harper LaFond

M.S. 2020

Project title: Potential vectors of Grapevine Red Blotch Virus in Missouri


Lauren Diepenbrock

Ph.D. 2014

Project title: Historical, landscape and resource influences on the coccinellid community in Missouri


Brittani Alexander

M.S. 2016

Project title: Habitat manipulations to enhance abundance and diversity of native bees in Helianthus annuus


Dalton Ludwick

Ph.D. 2018

Project title: Characterizing Bt Resistance and the Bacteriome of Western Corn Rootworm


Joe LaRose

M.S. 2018

Project title: Grasshopper and bee communities on Missouri prairies: comparing remnants and reconstructions


Camila de Oliveira (2009-2011) A negative effect of a pathogen on its vector? A plant pathogen increases the vulnerability of its vector to attack by natural enemies

Andrew Fill (2010-2011)  Non-consumptive effects of a natural enemy on a non-prey herbivore population

Jeb Newman (2010) Do predator non-consumptive and consumptive effects scale with density in the same manner?

Kathryn Ingerslew (2011-2012) Parasitoid interactions mediated by non-consumptive effects

Joe Krauska (2014-2015)  The contribution of non-consumptive effects to the biological control of pest caterpillars

Tanner Leslie (2016-2018) Optimizing the use of cover crops to suppress weeds, enhance soil health, and attract beneficial insects in an organic watermelon system

Harper Smith (2017-2018) Effect of abiotic stress on parasitoid-host interactions

Mason Ward (2018-2022) Say yes to the host: The effects of drought on parasitoid wasp behavior

Kelsi Glover (2020-2021)  Host plant species impact on prey susceptibility