William C. Wetzel

PhD Candidate
Population Biology Grad Group
University of California, Davis

wcwetzel {a} ucdavis dot edu

Office: 2350 Storer Hall

CV pdf

I'm a PhD candidate in Population Biology at the University of California, Davis. My research explores the causes and consequences of heterogeneity in plant-herbivore interactions. Herbivores encounter a bewildering diversity of resources for food and egg-laying--they can choose host species from among plant communities, individual plants from among populations, plant parts within plants. How does heterogeneity at each of these scales influence the survival and reproduction of individual herbivores? How does it affect herbivore population dynamics over larger spatial and temporal scales? What strategies do herbivores use to cope with such complexity? Answering these questions requires an explicit focus on the messy heterogeneity or variance inherent in all ecological systems. My work does this using observation and experimentation in the field and greenhouse with gall-making herbivores on big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and valley oak (Quercus lobata), as well as statistical and mathematical modeling.

Peer-reviewed publications
Wetzel, W.C., R. Screen, I. Li, J. McKenzie, K. Phillips, M. Cruz, W. Zhang, A. Greene, E. Lee, N. Singh, C. Tran, and L. Yang. (in prep). Ecosystem engineering by a gall-forming wasp indirectly suppresses density and diversity of herbivores on oak trees. (manuscript available upon request).

Karban, R., W.C. Wetzel, K, Shiojiri, S. Ishizaki, S. Ramirez, and J. Blande. (in press). Deciphering the language of plant communication: volatile chemotypes of sagebrush. New Phytologist. doi: 10.1111/nph.12887 (preprint pdf)

Wetzel, W.C. (in press). Density-dependent recruitment structures a heterogeneous distribution of herbivores among host-plants. Ecology. doi: 10.1890/14-0190.1 (preprint pdf) [Winner of the Ecological Society of America Outstanding Student Research Award 2014]

Hammock, B. and W.C. Wetzel. 2013. The relative importance of drift causes for stream insect herbivores across a canopy gradient. Oikos 122: 1586-1593. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2013.00319.x (pdf)

Karban, R., K. Shiojiri, S. Ishizaki, W.C. Wetzel, and R. Evans. 2013. Kin recognition affects plant communication and defense. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 280: 20123062. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.3062 (pdf)

Wetzel, W.C., I. Lacher, S. Daniel, S. Moffitt, and D. Manning. 2012. Survey and landscape analysis reveal potential consequences of Williamson Act for rangeland conservation. California Agriculture 66:131-136. doi: 10.3733/ca.v066n04p131 (pdf) [Journal cover story]

Meek, M., A. Wintzer, W.C. Wetzel, and B. May. 2012. Climate change likely to facilitate the invasion of the non-native hydroid, Cordylophora caspia, in the San Francisco Estuary, CA. PLoS ONE 7:e46373. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046373 (pdf)

Chong, G., W.C. Wetzel, and M. Holloran. 2010. Greater sage-grouse of Grand Teton National Park: Where do they roam? Park Science 27(3): 42-49.

Research images

↑ An adult female Eutreta diana and the puparium from which she emerged

↑ An adult female Eutreta diana. Drawn by Devyn Orr.

↑ A Eutreta diana larve feeding inside its gall. Drawn by Devyn Orr.

↑ An ant attacking a Eutreta diana gall

↑ The pupa of a parasitic wasp next to the remains of its Eutreta diana meal

↑ Experiments restricting movement or haunted shrubs?


Population Biology Graduate Group

Center for Population Biology

National Science Foundation IGERT: Responding to Rapid Environmental Change

Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve, University of California Natural Reserve System