Monica Kersch-Becker, Ph.D.

Monica Kersch-Becker, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Arthropod Ecology
518 ASI Building
University Park, PA 16802

Areas of Expertise

  • Plant-arthropod interactions
  • Arthropod ecology
  • Chemical ecology
  • Biological control

Education

  • Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University
  • M.Sc. Ecology, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil
  • B. Sc. Biology, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, Brazil

Research Summary

My research focuses on basic and applied aspects of multitrophic species interactions in both natural and managed systems. I am passionate about chemical ecology at the forefront of science and my work investigates the underlying mechanisms by which plant chemical and physical traits shape multitrophic species interactions, population dynamics, and community structure of arthropods. My ongoing research can be divided into three broad areas of investigation: (i) plant-mediated trophic interactions, (ii) arthropods facilitate microbial diversity on plants, and (iii) climate change and species interaction. Through research integrating chemical assays, statistical modeling and manipulative laboratory- and field-based experiments, my work investigates the complex context-dependency of direct and indirect multi-species interactions involving plants, microbes, herbivores and predators at both population and community levels.

Current Students

Jacob Herschberger (M.S. – Biology)

Danilo Ferreira Borges dos Santos (Ph.D. – Ecology)

Bijay Subedi (Ph.D. – Entomology)

Publications (last 5 years)

  • Romero GQ et al. Climatic instability strengthens the importance of leaf shelters for arthropods: a global experiment. Global Change Biology, in press.
  • Pereira C et al. 2022. Subtle structures that serve as refuges: a dataset of arthropod constructs and their host plants. Ecology, in press. doi: 10.1002/ecy.3639
  • Recalde FC, Breviglieri CPB, Kersch-Becker MF, and Romero GQ. 2021. Trophic variation in tropical birds and bats is driven by allochthonous resources. Food webs 29: e00209. doi: 10.1016/j.fooweb.2021.e00209
  • Antiqueira PPA, de Omena PM, Gonçalves-Souza, T, Viera C, Migliorini GH, Kersch-Becker MF, Bernabe TN, Recalde FC, Benavides-Gordillo S and Romero GQ. 2020. Precipitation and predation risk alter the diversity and behavior of pollinators and reduce plant fitness. Oecologia 192:745-753. doi: 10.1007/s00442-020-04612-0
  • Kersch-Becker MF and Thaler JS. 2019. Constitutive and herbivore-induced plant defenses regulate herbivore population processes. Journal of Animal Ecology 88:1079-1088. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12993
  • Greenspan SE, Lyra ML, Migliorini GH, Kersch-Becker MF, Bletz MC, Lisboa CS, Pontes M, Ribeiro L, Romero GQ, Woodhams DC, Haddad CFB, Toledo LF, Becker CG. 2019. Arthropod-bacteria interactions influence assembly of aquatic host microbiome and pathogen defense. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286: 2019.0924. doi:10.1098/rspb.2019.0924
  • Kersch-Becker MF, Grisolia BB, Campos MJO and Romero GQ. 2018. The role of spider hunting mode on the strength of spider-plant mutualisms. Oecologia 188:213-222. doi: 10.1007/s00442-018-4170-y
  • Kersch-Becker MF, Grisolia BB, Campos MJO and Romero GQ. 2018. Community-wide responses to predation risk: effects of predator hunting mode on herbivores, pollinators and parasitoids. Ecological Entomology 43:846-849. doi:10.1111/een.12660
  • de Omena PM, Bernabe TN, Kersch-Becker MF, Antiqueira PPA, Benavides-Gordillo S, Recalde FC, Vieira C, Migliorini GH, and Romero GQ. 2018. Bromeliads provide shelter against fire to mutualistic spiders in a fire-prone landscape. Ecological Entomology 43:389-393. doi: 10.1111/een.12497
  • Kersch-Becker MF, Kessler A and Thaler JS. 2017. Plant defenses drive herbivore population growth by changing predator-prey interactions. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284: 20171120. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1120
  • Tjiurutue MC, Sandler HA, Kersch-Becker MF, Theis N and Adler LS. 2017. Gypsy moth herbivory induced volatiles and reduced parasite attachment to cranberry hosts. Oecologia 185: 133-145. doi: 10.1007/s00442-017-3915-3
  • de Omena, PM, Bernabe TN, Kersch-Becker MF, Recalde FCR, Antiqueira PAP, Viera C, Migliorini GH, Benavides-Gordillo S and Romero GQ. 2017. Plant architectural traits determine residence time by a Neotropical jumping spider. Journal of Ethology 35: 313-316. doi: 10.1007/s10164-017-0520-1
  • Tjiurutue MC, Sandler HA, Kersch-Becker MF, Theis N and Adler LS. 2016. Cranberry resistance to dodder parasitism: induced chemical defenses and behavior of a parasitic plant. Journal of Chemical Ecology 42:95-106. doi: 10.1007/s10886-016-0671-5

Publications

Climate variability and aridity modulate the role of leaf shelters for arthropods: A global experiment
Global Change Biology, Romero, Gustavo Q., Gonçalves-Souza, Thiago, Roslin, Tomas, Marquis, Robert J, Marino, Nicholas A.C., Novotny, Vojtech, Cornelissen, Tatiana, Orivel, Jerome, Sui, Shen, Aires, Gustavo, Antoniazzi, Reuber, Dáttilo, Wesley, Breviglieri, Crasso P  B, Busse, Annika, Gibb, Heloise, Izzo, Thiago J., Kadlec, Tomas, Kemp, Victoria, Kersch-Becker, Monica, Knapp, Michal, Kratina, Pavel, Luke, Rebecca, Majnarić, Stefan, Maritz, Robin, Mateus Martins, Paulo, Mendesil, Esayas, Michalko, Jaroslav, Mrazova, Anna, Novais, Samuel, Pereira, Cássio C., Perić, Mirela S., Petermann, Jana S., Ribeiro, Sérvio P., Sam, Katerina, Trzcinski, M. Kurtis, Vieira, Camila, Westwood, Natalie, Bernaschini, Maria L., Carvajal, Valentina, González, Ezequiel, Jausoro, Mariana, Kaensin, Stanis, Ospina, Fabiola, Cristóbal-Pérez, E. Jacob, Quesada, Mauricio, Rogy, Pierre, Srivastava, Diane S, Szpryngiel, Scarlett, Tack, Ayco J.M., Teder, Tiit, Videla, Martin, Viljur, Mari Liis, Koricheva, Julia, 2022

Subtle structures with not-so-subtle functions: A data set of arthropod constructs and their host plants
Ecology, Pereira, Cássio Cardoso, Novais, Samuel, Barbosa, Milton, Negreiros, Daniel, Gonçalves-Souza, Thiago, Roslin, Tomas, Marquis, Robert, Marino, Nicholas, Novotny, Vojtech, Orivel, Jerome, Sui, Shen, Aires, Gustavo, Antoniazzi, Reuber, Dáttilo, Wesley, Breviglieri, Crasso, Busse, Annika, Gibb, Heloise, Izzo, Thiago, Kadlec, Tomas, Kemp, Victoria, Kersch-Becker, Monica, Knapp, Michal, Kratina, Pavel, Luke, Rebecca, Majnarić, Stefan, Maritz, Robin, Martins, Paulo Mateus, Mendesil, Esayas, Michalko, Jaroslav, Mrazova, Anna, Perić, Mirela Sertić, Petermann, Jana, Ribeiro, Sérvio, Sam, Katerina, Trzcinski, M. Kurtis, Vieira, Camila, Westwood, Natalie, Bernaschini, Maria, Carvajal, Valentina, González, Ezequiel, Jausoro, Mariana, Kaensin, Stanis, Ospina, Fabiola, Pérez, Jacob Cristóbal, Quesada, Mauricio, Rogy, Pierre, Srivastava, Diane S., Szpryngiel, Scarlett, Tack, Ayco J.M., Teder, Tiit, Videla, Martin, Viljur, Mari Liis, Koricheva, Julia, Fernandes, G. Wilson, Romero, Gustavo Q., Cornelissen, Tatiana, 2022

Contribution of emergent aquatic insects to the trophic variation of tropical birds and bats
Food Webs, Recalde, Fátima C., Breviglieri, Crasso P.B., Kersch-Becker, Mônica F., Romero, Gustavo Q., 2021

Precipitation and predation risk alter the diversity and behavior of pollinators and reduce plant fitness
Oecologia, Antiqueira, Pablo A.P., de Omena, Paula M., Gonçalves-Souza, Thiago, Vieira, Camila, Migliorini, Gustavo H., Kersch-Becker, Mônica F., Bernabé, Tiago N., Recalde, Fátima C., Gordillo, Sandra Benavides, Romero, Gustavo Q., 2020

Constitutive and herbivore-induced plant defences regulate herbivore population processes
Journal of Animal Ecology, Kersch-Becker, Mônica F., Thaler, Jennifer S., 2019

Arthropod-bacteria interactions influence assembly of aquatic host microbiome and pathogen defense
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Greenspan, Sasha E., Lyra, Mariana L., Migliorini, Gustavo H., Kersch-Becker, Mônica F., Bletz, Molly C., Lisboa, Cybele Sabino, Pontes, Mariana R., Ribeiro, Luisa P., Neely, Wesley J., Rezende, Felipe, Romero, Gustavo Q., Woodhams, Douglas C., Haddad, Célio F.B., Toledo, Luís Felipe, Guilherme Becker, C., 2019

Community-wide responses to predation risk: effects of predator hunting mode on herbivores, pollinators, and parasitoids
Ecological Entomology, Kersch-Becker, Mônica F., Grisolia, Bruno B., Campos, Maria J.O., Romero, Gustavo Q., 2018

The role of spider hunting mode on the strength of spider–plant mutualisms
Oecologia, Kersch-Becker, Mônica F., Grisolia, Bruno B., Campos, Maria J.O., Romero, Gustavo Q., 2018

Bromeliads provide shelter against fire to mutualistic spiders in a fire-prone landscape
Ecological Entomology, De Omena, Paula M., Kersch-Becker, MÔnica F., Antiqueira, Pablo A.P., Bernabé, Tiago N., Benavides-Gordillo, Sandra, Recalde, Fátima C., Vieira, Camila, Migliorini, Gustavo H., Romero, Gustavo Q., 2018

Plant defences limit herbivore population growth by changing predator-prey interactions
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Kersch-Becker, Mônica F., Kessler, André, Thaler, Jennifer S., 2017

Plant architectural traits influence residence time of a specialist jumping spider
Journal of Ethology, de Omena, Paula M., Bernabé, Tiago N., Kersch-Becker, Mônica F., Recalde, Fátima C., Antiqueira, Pablo A.P., Vieira, Camila, Migliorini, Gustavo H., Benavides-Gordillo, Sandra, Romero, Gustavo Q., 2017

Gypsy moth herbivory induced volatiles and reduced parasite attachment to cranberry hosts
Oecologia, Tjiurutue, Muvari C., Sandler, Hilary A., Kersch-Becker, Monica F., Theis, Nina, Adler, Lynn S., 2017

Cranberry Resistance to Dodder Parasitism: Induced Chemical Defenses and Behavior of a Parasitic Plant
Journal of Chemical Ecology, Tjiurutue, Muvari Connie, Sandler, Hilary A., Kersch-Becker, Monica F., Theis, Nina, Adler, Lynn A., 2016

Plant resistance reduces the strength of consumptive and non-consumptive effects of predators on aphids
Journal of Animal Ecology, Kersch-Becker, Mônica F., Thaler, Jennifer S., 2015

Virus strains differentially induce plant susceptibility to aphid vectors and chewing herbivores
Oecologia, Kersch-Becker, Mônica F., Thaler, Jennifer S., 2014

Conservation of an Ant-plant Mutualism in Native Forests and Ecologically-managed Tree Monocultures
Biotropica, Kersch-Becker, Mônica F., Buss, Sandra R., Fonseca, Carlos R., 2013

Indirect effects of human development along the coast on coral health
Biotropica, Guilherme Becker, C., Dalziel, Benjamin D., Kersch-Becker, Mônica F., Park, Mia G., Mouchka, Morgan, 2013

Landscape simplification and altitude affect biodiversity, herbivory and Andean potato yield
Journal of Applied Ecology, Poveda, Katja, Martínez, Eliana, Kersch-Becker, Monica F., Bonilla, Maria A., Tscharntke, Teja, 2012

Bottom-up multitrophic effects in resprouting plants
Ecology, Kersch-Becker, Mônica F., Lewinsohn, Thomas M., 2012