Rebecca E. Irwin

Adjunct Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
Biology, Ecology, and Evolution Graduate Program

Biological communities form from a complex web of interactions among multiple species. My lab is interested in the ecology and evolution of multiple-species interactions, pollination biology, and species invasions. Among my research interests are the relative importance of direct and indirect effects of antagonists on the ecology and evolution of plant-pollinator mutualisms, and whether plant interactions with mutualists and antagonists simultaneously shape and constrain selection on nectar traits.

Curriculum Vitae
HB 6044
Biological Sciences
The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding
B.A. Middlebury College
Ph.D. University of Vermont

Related Links

Selected Publications

McDermott, S. M., R. E. Irwin, and B. W. Taylor. Using economic instruments to develop effective management of invasive species: insights from a bioeconomic model. Ecological Applications, accepted.

Schaeffer, R. N. ‡, J. S. Manson, and R. E. Irwin. 2013. Effects of abiotic factors and species interactions on estimates of male plant function: a meta-analysis. Ecology Letters 16:399-408.

Cook, D., J. S. Manson, D. R. Gardner, K. D. Welch, and R. E. Irwin. 2013. Norditerpene alkaloid concentrations in tissues and floral rewards of larkspurs and impacts on pollinators. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 48:123-131.

Brody, A. K. and R. E. Irwin. 2012. When resources don’t rescue: pollinators, nectar robbers and pre-dispersal seed predators limit compensation to herbivory in Ipomopsis aggregata. Oikos 121:1424-1434.

Adler, L. S. and R. E. Irwin. 2012. Nectar alkaloids decrease pollination and reproduction in a native plant. Oecologia 168:1033-41.

Zhang, C., R. E. Irwin, Y.Wang, Y.-P. He, Y.-P. Yang, Y.-W. Duan. 2011. Selective seed abortion in selfing plants in an alpine ecosystem induced by nectar robbing. New Phytologist 192:249-255.

Irwin, R. E. and A. K. Brody. 2011. Additive effects of herbivory, nectar robbing and seed predation on male and female fitness components of the host plant Ipomopsis aggregata. Oecologia 166:681-692.

Irwin, R. E., J. L. Bronstein, J. S. Manson, and L. Richardson. 2010. Nectar robbing: ecological and evolutionary perspectives. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 41:271-292.

Burkle, L. A.‡ and R. E. Irwin. 2010. Beyond biomass: measuring the effects of community-level nitrogen enrichment on floral traits, pollinator visitation and plant reproduction. Journal of Ecology 98:705-717.

Wilke, B. J.† and R. E. Irwin. 2010. Variation in the phenology and abundance of flowering by native and exotic plants in subalpine meadows. Biological Invasions 12: 2363-2372.

Burkle, L.‡, and R. Irwin. 2009. Plant-pollinator networks across space and time: the importance of interannual variation and bottom-up nitrogen enrichment. Oikos 118:1816-1829.

Irwin, R. E. 2009. Realized tolerance to nectar robbing: compensation to floral enemies in Ipomopsis aggregata. Annals of Botany, Special Issue on Plant-Pollinator Interactions, 103:1425-1433.

Mitchell, R. J., R. E. Irwin, R. J. Flanagan‡, and J. D. Karron. 2009. Viewpoint: Ecology and evolution of plant-pollinator interactions. Annals of Botany, Special Issue on Plant-Pollinator Interactions, 103:1355-1363.

Burkle, L.‡ and R. Irwin. 2009. Nectar sugar limits larval growth of solitary bees (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Environmental Entomology 38:1293-1300.

Burkle, L. A.‡ and R. E. Irwin. 2009. The impact of nutrient addition on floral characters and pollination in two subalpine plants, Ipomopsis aggregata and Linum lewisii. Plant Ecology 203:83-98.

Sloan, C. D. ‡, E. J. Duell, X. Shi, R. Irwin, A. S. Andrew, S. Williams, and J. H. Moore. 2009. Ecogeographic genetic epidemiology. Genetic Epidemiology 33:281-289.

Elliott, S. E. ‡ and R. E. Irwin. 2009. Effects of flowering plant density on pollinator visitation, pollen receipt, and seed production in Delphinium barbeyi. American Journal of Botany 96:912-919.

Irwin, R. E., C. Galen, J. J. Rabenold†, R. Kaczorowski†, and M. L. McCutcheon†. 2008. Mechanisms of tolerance to floral larceny in two animal-pollinated wildflowers, Polemonium viscosum and Ipomopsis aggregata. Ecology 89:3093-3104.

Egan, J. F.† and R. E. Irwin. 2008. Evaluation of the field impact of an adventitious herbivore on an invasive plant, yellow toadflax, in Colorado, USA. Plant Ecology 199:99-114.

Irwin, R. E. and L. S. Adler. 2008. Nectar secondary compounds affect self-pollen transfer: implications for female and male plant reproduction. Ecology 89:2207-2217.

Elliott, S. E.‡, R. E. Irwin, L. S. Adler, and N. M. Williams. 2008. A nectar alkaloid, gelsemine, does not affect offspring performance of a native solitary bee, Osmia lignaria (Megachilidae). Ecological Entomology 33:298-304.

Brody, A. K., R. E. Irwin, M. L. McCutcheon†, and E. C. Parsons†. 2008. Interactions between nectar robbers and seed predators mediated by a shared host plant, Ipomopsis aggregata. Oecologia 155:75-84.

Burkle, L. A.‡, R. E. Irwin, and D. A. Newman‡. 2007. Predicting the effects of nectar robbing on plant reproduction: implications of pollen limitation and plant mating system.  American Journal of Botany 94:1935-1943.

McCall, A. C. and R. E. Irwin. 2006. Florivory: the intersection of pollination and herbivory. Ecology Letters 9:1351-1365.

Irwin, R. E. 2006. Consequences of direct versus indirect species interactions to selection on traits: pollination and nectar robbing in Ipomopsis aggregata. American Naturalist 167:315-328.

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