Mônica  Kersch-Becker

Visiting Assistant Professor


Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, 2014

M.S., Ecology, State University of Campinas, 2007

Postdoctoral research: State University of Campinas, Brazil, 2017

Research Interests

My research focuses on basic and applied aspects of plant-mediated species interactions in both agricultural and natural systems. My research is divided in 3 broad areas: (1) interactive effects between plants and predators, (2) community-wide responses to plant traits, and (3) conditional outcomes of mutualistic interactions. The conceptual thread that ties these together is the premise that organismal interactions that are mediated by chemical and physical plant traits are critical to population processes and community structure. Through research integrating chemical assays, statistical modeling and manipulative laboratory- and field-based experiments, I test hypotheses about the role of plant traits and ecological factors in determining the outcome of species interactions.

Selected Publications

Omena PM, Kersch-Becker MF, Antiqueira PPA, Bernabe TN, 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, in press.

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. http://dx.doi.org/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

Omena, PM, Bernabe TN, Kersch-Becker MF, Ruiz FCR, Antiqueira PAP, Viera C, Migliorini GH, Gordillo SB and Romero GQ. 2017. Plant architectural traits determine residence time by a Neotropical jumping spider. Journal of Ethology 35: 313-316

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.

Kersch-Becker MF and Thaler JS. 2015. Plant resistance reduces the strength of consumptive and non-consumptive effects of predators on aphids. Journal of Animal Ecology 84 (5): 1222-1232.

Kersch-Becker MF and Thaler JS. 2014. Virus strains differentially induce plant susceptibility to aphid vectors and chewing herbivores. Oecologia 174:883-892.

Kersch-Becker MF, Buss SR, and Fonseca CR. 2013. Conservation of an ant-plant mutualism in native forests and ecologically-managed tree monocultures. Biotropica 45 (4): 520-527.

Becker CG, Dalziel B, Kersch-Becker MF, Park MG, Mouchka M. 2013. Indirect effects of human development along the coast on coral health. Biotropica 45 (3): 401-407.

Kersch-Becker MF and Lewinsohn TM. 2012. Bottom-up multitrophic effects on resprouting plants. Ecology 93 (1): 9-16.

Poveda K, Martínez E, Kersch-Becker MF, Bonilla MA and Tscharntke T. 2012. Land use and altitudinal variation affect biodiversity, herbivory and Andean potato yield. Journal of Applied Ecology 49 (2): 513-522.

Kersch MF and Fonseca CR. 2005. Abiotic factors and the conditional outcome of an ant-plant mutualism. Ecology 86 (8): 2117-2126.