Entomology and forestry

Professor Timothy Schowalter received his PhD in Entomology from the University of Georgia, US, where he studied forest insect responses to forest harvest practices

He subsequently trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Texas A&M University, US, studying bark beetle population dynamics and their effects on pine forest ecosystems. He continued to work on insect responses to changing forest conditions and effects on forest ecosystems as a professor of entomology at Oregon State University, US, for 22 years.

Much of his research has been in conjunction with the US Long Term Ecological Research Network. Schowalter moved to Louisiana State University in 2003, where he served as department head of entomology until 2015.

Entomology in action

He has served as programme director for Ecosystem Studies at the National Science Foundation, where he made funding decisions for ecosystem projects across the US, and as elected vice-president for Public Affairs, Ecological Society of America and South-eastern Branch Representative to the Entomological Society of America Governing Board.

Schowalter now serves on the editorial boards for Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment and Journal of Economic Entomology. He was named a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America in 2012.

He is continuing long-term studies of entomology including canopy arthropod responses to hurricanes and other disturbances in forest ecosystems. With twenty-five years of data for post-Hugo (1989) and post-Georges (1998) recovery of canopy arthropod communities in tropical rainforests at the Luquillo Experimental Forest Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Site in Puerto Rico, he is collaborating with colleagues at Oregon State University, National Taiwan University, and the Taiwan Forest Research Institute on the comparison of data from Puerto Rico, with comparable data following typhoon disturbances in sub-tropical forests in Taiwan.

Following Hurricanes Katrina (2005) and Gustav (2008), he initiated studies in lowland hardwood forests in southeastern Louisiana. The combination of these databases from different forest types will improve predictions of canopy arthropod responses to canopy-opening disturbances.

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  • Chair, Presidential Committee on Fellows Selection, Entomological Society of America, 2017-present;
  • Member, Entomological Society of America Awards Task Force, 2017-present;
  • Appointed Program Chair, 102nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, New Orleans, LA, August 2018; member, ESA Meetings Committee, 2016-2018;
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Economic Entomology, 2016-present;
  • Associate Editor, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2005-present;
  • Elected and re-elected Southeastern Branch Representative to the Entomological Society of America Governing Board, 2013-2019;
  • Co-organiser, Symposium on Insect Effects on Ecosystem Services and presenter, Introduction, International Congress of Entomology, Orlando, FL, Sept, 2016; and
  • Organiser, 2015 Imported Fire Ant and Invasive Pest Ant Conference, New Orleans, LA, April 2015.

Professor Timothy Schowalter’s continuing research focuses on insect responses to natural and anthropogenic disturbances and the effects of these responses on ecosystem structure, function, herbivory, decomposition, and biogeochemical fluxes and services. He now has the longest-term database on arthropod responses to hurricane and drought disturbances at the Luquillo Experimental Forest LTER site in Puerto Rico and has collaborated with Taiwanese colleagues on a binational research project to compare arthropod responses to cyclonic storms in the two countries.


Professor Timothy Schowalter has published four books, including Insect Ecology: An Ecosystem Approach, now in its 4th edition, and Insects and Sustainability of Ecosystem Services (2013), more than 80 peer-reviewed journal papers, including three invited reviews, and a large number of additional book chapters, symposia proceedings and other publications.

Profile in Pan European Networks: Science & Technology, issue 25

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