Kirsten Prior

Kirsten Prior
Binghamton University | SUNY Binghamton · Department of Biological Sciences

PhD University of Notre Dame

About

42
Publications
7,075
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714
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2015 - July 2016
University of Florida
Position
  • PostDoc Position
August 2013 - August 2015
University of Florida
Position
  • PostDoc Position
August 2011 - August 2013
University of Toronto
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (42)
Preprint
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As species ranges shift in response to anthropogenic change, they lose coevolved or coadapted interactions and gain novel ones in recipient communities. Range-expanding species may lose or experience weak antagonistic interactions with competitors and enemies, and traits of interacting species will determine the strength of interactions. We leverag...
Article
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Generalized mutualisms, such as seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory), involve guilds of mutualistic partners that exchange services. Partners within guilds vary in traits that affect the quality of mutualistic services. Research aimed at uncovering within-guild variation in partner quality primarily considers the identity of partner species. Howev...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mutualistic interactions provide essential ecosystem functions, such as promoting and maintaining diversity. Understanding if functionally important mutualisms are resilient (able to resist and recover) to anthropogenic disturbance is important to understand the capacity for diversity to recover. Animal-mediated seed dispersal supports plant popula...
Preprint
Full-text available
When species undergo poleward range expansions in response to anthropogenic change, they likely encounter less diverse communities in new locations. If low diversity communities provide weak biotic interactions, such as reduced competition for resources or predation, range-expanding species may experience ‘high niche opportunities.’ Here, we uncove...
Article
Full-text available
Seed dispersal by ants is an important interaction in North American eastern deciduous forests, where 30–40% of understory plants are myrmecochores, with seeds that possess lipid-rich appendages (elaiosomes) that attract seed-dispersing ants. Contemporary forests are fragmented and have regenerated from being previously cleared (secondary forests)....
Article
Quantifying the frequency of shifts to new host plants within diverse clades of specialist herbivorous insects is critically important to understand whether and how host shifts contribute to the origin of species. Oak gall wasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae: Cynipini) comprise a tribe of ~1000 species of phytophagous insects that induce gall formation o...
Article
Cryptic species diversity is a major challenge for the species-rich community of parasitoids attacking oak gall wasps due to a high degree of sexual dimorphism, morphological plasticity, small size, and poorly known biology. As such, we know very little about the number of species present, nor the evolutionary forces responsible for generating this...
Preprint
Full-text available
The identities of most arthropod associates of cynipid-induced oak galls in the western Palearctic are generally known. However, a comprehensive accounting of associates has been performed for only a small number of the galls induced by the estimated 700 species of cynipid gall wasp in the Nearctic. This gap in knowledge stymies many potential stud...
Preprint
Full-text available
Quantifying the frequency of shifts to new host plants within diverse clades of specialist herbivorous insects is critically important to understand whether and how host shifts contribute to the origin of species. Oak gall wasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae: Cynipini) comprise a tribe of ~1000 species of phytophagous insects that induce gall formation o...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cryptic species diversity is a major challenge for the species-rich community of parasitoids attacking oak gall wasps due to a high degree of sexual dimorphism, morphological plasticity, small size, and poorly known biology. As such, we know very little about the number of species present, nor the evolutionary forces responsible for generating this...
Article
1. In generalized mutualisms, species vary in the quality of services they provide to their partners directly via traits that affect partner fitness and indirectly via traits that influence interactions among mutualist species that play similar functional roles. Myrmecochory, or seed dispersal by ants, is a generalized mutualism with ant species va...
Article
Full-text available
Mutualists can vary in the quantity and quality of service which they provide to their partners. Variation in seed disperser quality depends on seed-processing traits, dispersal distance, and deposition location, all of which ultimately affect plant fitness. Here, we compared these aspects of seed dispersal quality between a native and an invasive...
Article
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Human activities are rapidly changing natural environments, often with harmful consequences for native communities. The introduction of invasive species is particularly damaging to native communities, especially when invasive species alter the chemical environment and create novel, stressful conditions. These abiotic conditions are predicted to fav...
Article
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The primary goal of invasive species management is to eliminate or reduce populations of invasive species. Although management efforts are often motivated by broader goals such as to reduce the negative impacts of invasive species on ecosystems and society, there has been little assessment of the consistency between population-based (e.g., removing...
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While foundation species can stabilize ecosystems at landscape scales, their ability to persist is often underlain by keystone interactions occurring at smaller scales. Acacia drepanolobium is a foundation tree, comprising >95% of woody cover in East African black-cotton savanna ecosystems. Its dominance is underlain by a keystone mutualistic inter...
Article
Ambrosia beetles frequently invade non-native regions but are typically of no concern because most species live in dead trees and culture nonpathogenic symbiotic fungal gardens. Recently, however, several ambrosia beetle—fungus complexes have invaded non-native regions and killed large numbers of host trees. Such tree-killing invasions have occurre...
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Includes: Introduction - Synonymy - Distribution - Description - Life Cycle - Hosts - Ecology - Damage - Management - Selected References Also available on the Featured Creatures website at http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/trees/Neuroterus_saltatorius.htm
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Understanding the consequences of anthropogenic biodiversity decline has become an increasingly urgent priority for ecologists. Biological invasions are a common result of anthropogenic habitat change, and numerous studies have established the negative impact of invasions on the diversity and abundance of native species. But fewer studies have dire...
Article
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Edaphic variation in plant community composition is widespread, yet its underlying mechanisms are rarely understood and often assumed to be physiological. In East African savannas, Acacia tree species segregate sharply across soils of differing parent material: the ant-defended whistling thorn, A. drepanolobium (ACDR), is monodominant on clay verti...
Article
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Plant–animal mutualisms, such as seed dispersal, are often vulnerable to disruption by invasive species. Here, we show for the first time how a non-ant invasive species negatively affects seed dispersal by ants. We examined the effects of several animal species that co-occur in a temperate deciduous forest—including native and invasive seed-dispers...
Article
Full-text available
Generalized mutualisms are often predicted to be resilient to changes in partner identity. Variation in mutualism-related traits between native and invasive species however, can exacerbate the spread of invasive species ('invasional meltdown') if invasive partners strongly interact. Here we show how invasion by a seed-dispersing ant (Myrmica rubra)...
Article
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The enemy release hypothesis (ERH) predicts that the success of invasive species is caused by reduced enemy pressure in species’ introduced ranges. The ERH is a highly-cited explanation for invasion success, yet rigorous evidence is lacking for most species and ecosystems. Most evidence comes from observations of enemies in native and introduced ra...
Article
Full-text available
Myrmecochory, or ant-mediated seed dispersal, is an important ecological interaction in which ants benefit by gaining nutrition from lipid-rich elaiosomes attached to seeds and plants benefit from having their seeds dispersed away from parent plants. Most research on the benefits of myrmecochory focuses on primary dispersal, in which ants move seed...
Article
Full-text available
The loss of natural enemies is a key feature of species introductions and is assumed to facilitate the increased success of species in new locales (enemy release hypothesis; ERH). The ERH is rarely tested experimentally, however, and is often assumed from observations of enemy loss. We provide a rigorous test of the link between enemy loss and enem...
Article
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The fossil record tells us that many species shifted their geographic distributions during historic climate changes, but this record does not portray the complete picture of future range change in response to climate change. In particular, it does not provide information on how species interactions will affect range shifts. Therefore, we also need...
Article
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Phytophagous insects commonly interact through shared host plants. These interactions, however, do not occur in accordance with traditional paradigms of competition, and competition in phytophagous insects is still being defined. It remains unclear, for example, if particular guilds of insects are superior competitors or important players in struct...
Article
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There is a pressing need to predict how species will change their geographic ranges under climate change. Projections typically assume that temperature is a primary fitness determinant and that populations near the poleward (and upward) range boundary are preadapted to warming. Thus, poleward, peripheral populations will increase with warming, and...
Article
Full-text available
We describe aspects of the life history of Erynnis propertius (Scudder and Burgess) (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae) by examining several populations over multiple years. We focused on peripheral populations of this species because they are isolated, are threatened by habitat loss, and may play an important role in driving poleward range expansion under...
Chapter
This chapter demonstrates that the direction and magnitude of the effects of climate change on insect species are multifaceted. Warming from climate change will alter insect development time, voltinism, foraging behavior, emergence time, and survivorship. These changes, which alter population size and distribution, will affect the temporal and spat...
Article
Full-text available
To predict changes in species' distributions due to climate change we must understand populations at the poleward edge of species' ranges. Ecologists generally expect range shifts under climate change caused by the expansion of edge populations as peripheral conditions increasingly resemble the range core. We tested whether peripheral populations o...

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