Biology Department

Biology Building 308


Abrahamson Web Page

Educational Background

B.S., University of Michigan
M.S., Harvard University
Ph.D., Harvard University

Teaching Interests

Population and Community Biology, Plant-animal interactions, Plant Systematics, Organic Evolution, and Conservation Biology. Population and Community Biology is an introduction to ecology and evolution and is a part of the Biology Department CORE curriculum. The plant-animal interactions course surveys mutualisms, anatagonisms, and commensalisms while stressing field-based, multi-week projects that emphasize pollination biology, herbivore-plant interactions, biotic fruit dispersal, and the ecology of carnivorous plants. The plant systematics course examines systematic theory including cladistics. The laboratory is strongly based in the field and focuses on the Pennsylvania flora. Organic Evolution covers the principles and mechanisms of evolution in plants and animals including population phenomena, speciation, life history strategies, and adaptation. Conservation Biology is a senior capstone course that examines the elements of demography, genetics, economics, and ethics.

Course Web Pages

BIOL 208 Population and Community Biology
BIOL 330 Plant Systematics
ANBE/BIOL 356 Plant-Animal Interactions
BIOL 415 Conservation Biology

Research Interests

Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Biology. Specifically, plant-insect interactions of three trophic-level interactions using goldenrods, ball gall insects, and natural enemies as well as oaks and cynipid gall insects, speciation of phytophagous insects; the ecology of fire in Florida's upland scrub communities; conservation studies of local natural areas.

Selected Publications

As of 1 March 2010, Dr. Abrahamson has published 148 scientific articles and 2 books with the following co-authorship: 42% with student co-authors (28% with undergraduates, 17% with graduate students), and 51% with Postdoctoral Fellows. Abrahamson has hosted 21 Postdoctoral Fellows since 1981. He was elected a Fellow of the AAAS in 2007 in recognition of his contributions to understanding the evolution and ecology of plant-animal interactions.

Publications since 2006:

*Denotes Student Author

Abrahamson, W.G. and C.R. Abrahamson. 2009. Life in the slow lane: palmetto seedlings exhibit remarkable survival but slow growth in Florida's nutrient-poor uplands. Castanea 74: 123-132.

Dorchin, N., M.V. McEvoy, T.A. Dowling*, W.G. Abrahamson, and J.G. Moore. 2009. Revision of the goldenrod-galling Rhopalomyia species (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) in North America. Zootaxa 2152: 1-35.

Wise, M.J., C.G. Yi*, and W.G. Abrahamson. 2009. Associational resistance, gall-fly preferences, and a stem dimorphism in Solidago altissima. Acta Oecologica 35: 471-476.

Whipple, A.V., W.G. Abrahamson, M.A. Khamiss*, P.L. Heinrich, A.G. Urian*, and E.M. Northridge*. 2009. Host-race formation: promoted by phenology, constrained by heritability. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22: 793-804.

Dorchin, N., S.D. Jordan, E.R. Scott*, C.E. Clarkin*, M.P. Luongo*, and W.G. Abrahamson. 2009. Behavioural, ecological and genetic evidence confirm the occurrence of host-associated differentiation in goldenrod gall midges. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22: 729-739.

Wise, M.J. and W.G. Abrahamson. 2008. Ducking as a means of resistance to herbivory in tall goldenrod, Solidago altissima. Ecology 89: 3275-3281.

Wise, M.J. and W.G. Abrahamson. 2008. Applying the limiting resource model to plant tolerance of
apical meristem damage. American Naturalist 172: 635-647.

Abrahamson, W.G. and M.R. Weaver. 2008. EcoSampler: a learning object for community sampling, community structure, and succession. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America: 89: 435-447.

Wise, M.J., L.E. Coffey*, and W.G. Abrahamson. 2008. Nutrient stress and gall flies interact to affect floral-sex ratio in gynomonoecious Solidago altissima (Asteraceae). American Journal of Botany 95: 1233-1239.

Diamond, S.E.*, C.P. Blair, and W.G. Abrahamson. 2008. Testing the nutrition hypothesis for the adaptive nature of insect galls: does a non-adapted herbivore perform better in galls? Ecological Entomology 33: 385-393.

Tooker, J.F., J.R. Rohr, W.G. Abrahamson, and C.M. De Moraes. 2008. Gall insects can evade and alter indirect plant defenses. New Phytologist 178: 657-671.

Wise, M.J., J.M. Partelow*, K.J. Everson*, M.K. Anselmo*, and W.G. Abrahamson. 2008. Good mothers, bad mothers, and resistance to herbivory in Solidago altissima. Oecologia 155: 257-266.

Abrahamson, W.G. and C.P. Blair. 2008. Sequential radiation through host-race formation: herbivore diversity leads to diversity in natural enemies. In: K. Tilmon, ed. Specialization, Speciation, and Radiation: the Evolutionary Biology of Herbivorous Insects. University of California Press, USA, pp. 188-202.

Abrahamson, W.G. 2007. Leaf traits and leaf-life spans of two xeric-adapted palmettos. American Journal of Botany 94: 1297-1308.

Dorchin, N., C.E. Clarkin*, E.R. Scott*, M.P. Luongo*, and W.G. Abrahamson. 2007. Taxonomy, life history, and population sex ratios of North American Dasineura (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) on goldenrods (Asteraceae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 100: 539-548.

Stevens, L.E., T.L. Griswold*, O. Messenger*, W.G. Abrahamson, and T.J. Ayers. 2007. Plant and pollinator diversity in northern Arizona. The Plant Press 31: 5-7.

Melika, G. and W.G. Abrahamson. 2007. Review of the Nearctic gallwasp species of the genus Bassettia Ashmead, 1887, with description of new species (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae: Cynipini). Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 53: 131-148.

Wise, M.J. and W.G. Abrahamson. 2007. Effects of resource availability on tolerance of herbivory: a review and assessment of three opposing models. American Naturalist 169: 443-454.

Wise, M.J., W.G. Abrahamson, and K. Landis*. 2006. Edaphic environment, gall midges, and goldenrod clonal expansion in a mid-successional old field. Acta Oecologica 30: 365-373.

Layne, J.N. and W.G. Abrahamson. 2006. Scrub hickory: a Florida endemic. Palmetto 23(2): 4-13.

Abrahamson, W.G. and C.R. Abrahamson. 2006. Post-fire canopy recovery in two fire-adapted palms, Serenoa repens and Sabal etonia (Arecaceae). Florida Scientist 69: 69-79.

Dorchin, N., E.R. Scott*, and W.G. Abrahamson. 2006. First record of Macrolabis (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) in America: a new inquiline species from Dasineura folliculi galls on goldenrods. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 99: 656-661.

Wise, M.J., R.J. Fox*, and W.G. Abrahamson. 2006. Disarming the paradox of sublethal-plant defense against insects: Trirhabda virgata larval development time and leaf tissue loss on Solidago altissima. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 120: 77-87.

Ketterer, E.* and W.G. Abrahamson. 2006. Purple loosestrife on the Susquehanna River's West Branch: distribution and environmental correlates. Northeastern Naturalist 13: 213-234.

Wise, M.J., D.L. Kieffer*, and W.G. Abrahamson. 2006. Costs and benefits of gregarious feeding in the meadow spittlebug, Philaenus spumarius. Ecological Entomology 31: 548-555.


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