Gif ImageJohn R. Spence Gif Image


Mailing address: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2E9
Office Number: 1-58 Earth Sciences Building
Email address:
Fax address: (780) 492-9234
Phone Number: (780) 492-3003

Entomology 280 Home Page

Spence Lab Home Page

EMEND (Ecosystem Management by Emulating Natural Disturbance) (1997 - now)

Academic degrees

Areas of Involvement

Environmental Biology and Ecology, Systematics and Evolution

Current Research interests

My students and I work in three general areas bridging evolution and ecology: 1) structure and dynamics of arthropod populations, 2) integration of communities, especially those under anthropogenic influence and 3) the nature and evolution of arthropod species and their life-histories. Issues in these foci are richly interconnected and I believe that a synthetic approach is central for full understanding of biological issues and for rational management of sustainable ecosystems. Thus, the research program in my lab couples broad scientific objectives with the promise of shorter term applications in management and conservation of forests and wetlands. Work generally proceeds from a strong natural history base to develop experimental approaches to questions that apply to particular taxa. Generalization follows after common threads are discovered and confirmed experimentally. The attached publication list provides the flavour of recent work in the laboratory. Further information is available upon request; please be specific about interests.

Students are encouraged to fit their own specific research interests into the broad framework of the overall lab program. I take development of a research proposal as an important and essential aspect of graduate applications. All students interested in working in my lab should make contact early enough to allow time for such interactions to develop. Work with forestry connections is done in close collaboration with scientists at the Northern Forestry Centre in Edmonton (see information under Adjunct Professors D. W. Langor and W. J. A. Volney). Significant collaborations are also presently underway with N. Møller Andersen (Copenhagen, Denmark), T. Harada (Kochi, Japan), W. J. Mattson (East Lansing, USA), Jari Niemelä & K. Vepsalainen (Helsinki, Finland), F. A. H. Sperling (Berkeley, USA), and M. Zimmermann (Bern, Switzerland).

Current projects of Spence and graduate students

(numbers refer to reference list below if previous work on topic has been published).

Recent Refereed Publications (1990-95)

26. Spence, J.R. 1990. Introgressive hybridization in the Heteroptera: the example of Limnoporus Stål (Gerridae) in western Canada. Canadian Journal of Zoology 68: 1770-1782.

27. Spence, J.R. 1990. Preadaptation and the success of European carabid species in Canada. - In: N.E. Stork (ed). Ground beetles: Their Role in Ecological and Environmental Studies. Intercept Publishers, Andover, U,K., pp. 127-139.

28. Sperling, F. A. H. and J. R. Spence 1990. Allozyme survey and relationships of Limnoporus Stål species (Heteroptera: Gerridae). The Canadian Entomologist 122: 29-42.

29. Langor, D.W., J.R. Spence and G.R. Pohl. 1990. Controlled breeding of the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins (Coleoptera: Scolytidae) in lodgepole and limber pine. Evolution 44: 609-618.

30. Kelker, D., D.A. Lee and J.R. Spence. 1990. Use of standard temperature thresholds for the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner) in Alberta. The Canadian Entomologist 122: 1247-1258.

31. Spence, J.R. and H.A. Cárcamo. 1991. Effects of cannibalism and intraguild predation on of pondskaters. Oikos 62: 333-341.

32. Langor, D.W. and J.R. Spence. 1991. Host effects on allozyme and morphological variation of the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins (Coleoptera: Scolytidae). The Canadian Entomologist 123: 395-410.

33. Niemelä, J. and J.R. Spence. 1991. Distribution and community effects of the exotic ground-beetle Pterostichus melanarius (Ill.). Oikos 62: 351-359.

34. Sperling, F.A.H. and J.R. Spence. 1991. Structure of an asymmetric hybrid zone between two water strider species (Hemiptera: Gerridae: Limnoporus). Evolution 45: 1370-83.

35. Andersen, N.M. and J.R. Spence. 1992. Classification and phylogeny of the Holarctic waterstrider genus Limnoporus Stål. Canadian Journal of Zoology 70: 753-785.

36. Niemelä, J., J.R. Spence and D.H. Spence. 1992. Habitat associations and seasonal activity of ground-beetles (Coleoptera, Carabidae) in central Alberta. The Canadian Entomologist 124: 521-540.

37. Zimmermann, M. and J.R. Spence. 1992. Adult population dynamics and reproductive effort of the fishing spider, Dolomedes triton (Araneae, Pisauridae) in central Alberta. Canadian Journal of Zoology 70: 2224-2233.

38. Andersen, N.M., J.R. Spence and M.V.H. Wilson. 1993. 50 million years of structural stasis in water striders (Hemiptera, Gerridae). American Entomologist 39: 174-176.

39. Henriquez, N.P. and J.R. Spence. 1993. Host location by the gerrid egg parasitoid Tiphodytes gerriphagus Marchal. Journal of Insect Behavior 6: 455-466.

40. Henriquez, N.P. and J.R. Spence. 1993. Studies of Lathromeroidea sp. n. (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae), a parasitoid of gerrid eggs. The Canadian Entomologist 125: 693-702.

41. Klingenberg, C.P. and J.R. Spence. 1993. Heterochrony and allometry: size and time in the phylogeny of the waterstrider genus Limnoporus. Evolution 47: 1834-1853.

42. Niemelä, J., D.W. Langor and J.R. Spence. 1993. Effects of clear-cut harvesting on boreal ground-beetle assemblages (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in western Canada. Conservation Biology 7: 551-561.

43. Spence, J.R. and N.M. Andersen. 1994. Biology of waterstriders: interactions between systematics and ecology. Annual Review of Entomology 39: 97-124.

44. Spence, J.R. and J.K. Niemelä. 1994. Sampling carabid assemblages with pitfall traps: the madness and the method. The Canadian Entomologist 126: 881-894.

45. Cárcamo, H.A. and J.R. Spence. 1994. Effect of crop type on the activity and distribution of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Environmental Entomology 23: 684-692.

46. Cárcamo, H.A. and J.R. Spence. 1994. Kin discrimination and cannibalism in water striders (Heteroptera: Gerridae): another look. Oikos 70: 412-416.

47. Langor, D.W., J.R. Spence, J. Niemelä and H.A. Cárcamo. 1994. Insect biodiversity studies in the boreal forests of Alberta, Canada. - In: Y. Haila et al. (eds), Effects of Management on the Ecological Diversity of Boreal Forests, Metsätutkimuslaitoksen Tiedonantoja 482: 25-32.

48. Niemelä, J.K. and J.R. Spence. 1994. Distribution of forest dwelling carabids (Coleoptera): spatial scale and the concept of communities. Ecography 17:166-175.

49. Niemelä, J. and J.R. Spence. 1994. Community impacts of an exotic carabid: Pterostichus melanarius in western Canadian forests. - In: K. Desender et al. (eds). Carabid beetles: ecology and evolution. Kluwer Academic Press, pp. 333-337.

50. Niemelä, J., J.R. Spence, D.W. Langor, Y. Haila and H. Tukia. 1994. Logging and boreal ground-beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) assemblages on two continents: conservation implications. - In: K.J. Gaston et al. (eds). Perspectives in Insect Conservation. Intercept Publishers, Andover, U.K., pp. 29-50.

51. Cárcamo, H. A., J. K. Niemelä & J. R. Spence. 1995. Farming and ground beetles: effects of agronomic practices on populations and community structure. Canadian Entomologist: 127: 123-140.

52. Digweed, S.C., C. R. Currie, H. A. Cárcamo & J. R. SPENCE. 1995. Digging out the "digging-in effect" of pitfall traps: influences of depletion and disturbance on catches of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Pedobiologia. In press.

53. Currie, C. R., J. R. Spence & W. J. A. Volney. 199x. Biology and life history of Epuraea obliquus Hatch (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) on western gall rust. The Canadian Entomologist., accepted.

54. Vepsäläinen, K. and J.R. Spence. 199x. Generalization in ecology and evolutionary biology: from hypothesis to paradigm. - In: Y. Haila and P. Taylor (eds.). Univ. of Chicago Press. In press.

Volumes Edited

Ball, G.E. and J.R. Spence. 1985. Faunal Influences on Soil Structure, Proceedings of a Symposium held at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, 11-13 June 1984. published as Quaestiones Entomologicae 21(4), 329 pp.

Spence, J.R. and R.H. Gooding. 1990. Evolutionary Significance of Hybridization and Introgression in Insects, Proceedings of a Symposium held in conjunction with the XVIII International Congress of Entomology, Vancouver, Canada, 6 July 1988. published in Canadian Journal of Zoology 68(8), 106 pp.

Spence, J.R. and A.B. Ewen. 1994. Ball's Circle: A Merry Go 'Round of Systematics, Proceedings of a Symposium held at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, 6-8 November 1992. published as The Canadian Entomologist 126(3), 476 pp.

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