We study the ecology of plants and insects in a variable and changing world

Our research focuses on how heterogeneity—including biological diversity and climate variability—influences interactions among plants, insect herbivores, and predators. We work in natural and agricultural ecosystems and strive to answer fundamental questions that have relevance for agricultural sustainability or responses to global change. We do experiments and observational studies in the field and greenhouse and use statistical and mathematical modeling to link ecological processes and patterns across scales from individuals to communities. Our work integrates population and community ecology, plant biochemistry, and insect physiology and behavior.

The Wetzel Lab is in the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University. We’re part of the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior Program and affiliated with the Kellogg Biological Station.

Profile of the lab by MSU Futures Magazine

Profile of our project on how plant defense diversity could contribute to sustainable control of insect pests

Profile of our project on climate variability, extreme weather, and plant–insect interactions

The Wetzel Lab at MSU’s Kellogg Biological station in summer 2018

We and the Weber Lab in Plant Biology run the MSU Plant–Arthropod Ecology & Evolution Group (affectionately known as PLARG), which includes members from 10+ labs across 4+ departments.

PLARG schedule

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The Wetzel Lab and friends (Bradburd, Meek, and Weber labs) at a fall potluck