Kailen A. Mooney

Picture of Kailen A. Mooney
Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
School of Biological Sciences
Scientist, Rocky Mountain Biological Labortory
Association of Delegates, Organization for Tropical Studies
Director, UCI-Nature
Ph.D., University of Colorado, 2004, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Phone: (949) 824-7852
Email: mooneyk@uci.edu
University of California, Irvine
3112 Biological Sciences 3
Mail Code: 2525
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
community ecology, evolutionary ecology, plant-insect interactions
Postdoctoral Researcher, Cornell University, Dept. Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Anurag A. Agrawal Lab (www.herbivory.com), 2005-2007
Research Abstract
I use manipulative field experiments and to study the interactions between plants, arthropods and insectivorous birds in both ecological and evolutionary contexts. Traits of plants (e.g. defensive chemistry, morphology) influence whole communities of arthropods from the ‘bottom-up’, while predators influence the same communities from the ‘top-down’. These two influences have traditionally been considered separately. Plant defense theory has been bi-trophic in nature, focusing on the pairwise plant-herbivore interaction without explicitly addressing the community context in which the interaction is embedded. At the same time, community ecology has addressed the top-down effects of predators without considering how plant traits affect food web structure.

The goal of my research is to conceptually unite community and evolutionary ecology. To do this, I ask how heritable plant traits influence interaction networks among herbivores, herbivore mutualists, and predators, and in turn how such networks drive the microevolution of plant defense. Methodologically, I model the results of long-term and large-scale field experiments using a combination of quantitative genetic and multivariate statistical techniques. By incorporating complex dynamics into my experiments, I rigorously test theory while simultaneously collecting detailed natural history observations as the basis for refining and pushing forward those same theories.
Supervised co-authors: * = undergraduate, ** = graduate, *** = postdoc]

Nelson, A.S. **, Acosta, N.C. **, Mooney, K.A. In press. Plant chemical mediation of ant behavior. Current Opinion in Insect Science.

Moreira, X., Abdala-Roberts, L., Perez-Ramos, I.G., Knops, J.M.H., Presendorfer, M.B., Koenig, W.D., Mooney, K.A. 2019. Weather cues associated with masting behavior dampen the negative autocorrelation between past and current reproduction in oaks. American Journal of Botany 106: 51-60 (DOI:10.1002/ajb2.1210)

Nell, C.S**, Abdala-Roberts, L., Parra-Tabla, V., Mooney, K.A. In press. Tropical tree diversity mediates foraging and predatory effects of insectivorous birds. Proc. Royal Society B

Nelson, A.S. **, Pratt, R.T. ***, Pratt, J.D. **, Smith, R.A., Symanski, C.T., Mooney, K.A. 2019. Progressive sensitivity of trophic levels to warming underlies an elevational gradient in ant–aphid mutualism strength. Oikos DOI: 10.1111/oik.05650

Moreira, X.***, Nell, C.S.**, Meza-Lopez, M.M. ***, Rasmann, S., Mooney, K.A. 2018. Specificity of plant–plant communication for Baccharis salicifolia sexes but not genotypes. Ecology 99: 2731-2739

Nell, C.S**, Meza-Lopez, M.M. ***, Croy, J.R. **, Nelson, A.S. **, Moreira, X. ***, Pratt, J.D. **, Mooney, K.A. Relative effects of genetic variation sensu lato and sexual dimorphism on plant traits and associated arthropod communities. Oecologia 187: 389-400

Meza-Lopez M.M. ***, Mooney K.A., Thompson A.L. *, Ho N.K. *, Pratt J.D. ** 2018. A test for clinal variation in Artemisia californica and associated arthropod responses to nitrogen addition. PLoS ONE 13(2): e0191997

Abdala-Roberts, L. **, Covelo, F., Parra-Tabla, V., Mier y Tera´n, J.C.B., Mooney, K.A., Moreira, X. *** 2018. Intra-Specific latitudinal clines in leaf carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus and their underlying abiotic correlates in Ruellia Nudiflora. Scientific Reports 8:596

Moreira, X. ***, Petry, W.P. **, Mooney, K.A., Rasmann, S., Abdala-Roberts, L. ** 2018. Elevational gradients in plant defences and insect herbivory: recent advances in the field and prospects for future research. Ecography 41: 1485-1496 (doi: 10.1111/ecog.03184)

Singer, M.S., Clark, R.A., Lichter-Marcka, I.H., Johnson, E.R., Mooney, K.A. 2017. Predatory birds and ants partition caterpillar prey by body size and diet breadth. Journal of Animal Ecology 86: 1363-1371

Abdala-Roberts, L. **, Pratt, R. ***, Pratt, J.D., Mooney, K.A. 2017. Traits underlying community consequences of plant intra-specific diversity. PLoS One 12: e0183493

Moreira X.***, Pérez-Ramos I.M., Abdala-Roberts L.**, Mooney, K.A. 2017. Functional responses of contrasting seed predator guilds to masting in two Mediterranean oak species. Oikos 126: 1042-1050

Pratt, J.D.**, Datu, A.*, Tran, T. *, Sheng, D.C. **, Mooney, K.A. 2017. Genetically based latitudinal clines in Artemisia californica arthropod communities. Ecology 98: 79-91

Moreira, X.***, Nell, C.S.**, Katsanis, A.***, Rasmann, S., Mooney, K.A. 2016. Herbivore specificity and the chemical basis of plant-plant communication in Baccharis salicifolia (Asteraceae). New Phytologist

Moreira, X.***, Abdala-Roberts, L.**, Zas, R., Merlo, E, Lombardero, M.J., Sampedro, L., Mooney, KA. 2016. Masting behaviour in a Mediterranean pine tree alters seed predator selection on reproductive output. Plant Biology 18: 973-980.

Petry, W.K.**, Soule, J.D., Iler, A.M., Chicas-Mosier*, A., Inouye, D.W., Miller, T.E.X., Mooney, K.A.
2016. Sex-specific responses to climate change in plants alter population sex ratio and performance. Science 353:69-71 (profiled in Perspectives: Etterson, J.R., Mazer, S.J. 2016 How climate change affects plants’ sex lives. Science 353: 32-33)

Katsanis, A.***, Rasmann, S., Mooney, K.A. 2016. Herbivore diet breadth and host plant defense mediate the tri-trophic effects of plant toxins on multiple coccinellid predators. PLoS ONE 11:e.0155716

Moreira, X.***, Abdala-Roberts, L.**, Rasmann, S., Castagneyrol, B., Mooney, K.A. 2016. Plant diversity effects on insect herbivores and their natural enemies: current thinking, recent findings, and future directions. Current Opinions in Insect Science 14: 1-7

Rasmann, S., Mooney, K.A. 2016. The Studies of plant-insect interactions: approaches spanning genes to ecosystems?. Current Opinions in Insect Science 14: v-vii

Abdala-Roberts, L.**, Moreira, X.***, Rasmann, S., Parra-Tabla, V., Mooney, K.A. 2016. Test of abiotic and biotic correlates of latitudinal variation in defense in the perennial herb Ruellia nudiflora. Journal of Ecology 104: 580-590

Abdala-Roberts, L.**, Pratt, J.D.**, Pratt, R.***, Schreck, T.K.**, Hanna, V.*, Mooney, K.A. 2016. Multi-trophic consequences of plant genetic variation in sex and growth. Ecology 97: 743-753

Mooney, E. H., Phillips, J.S.*, Tillberg, C.V., Sandrow, C., Nelson, A.S.**, Mooney, K.A. 2016. Abiotic mediation of a mutualism drives herbivore abundance. Ecology Letters 19: 37-44

Abdala-Roberts, L.**, González-Moreno, A., Mooney, K.A., Moreira, X.***, González-Hernández, A., Parra-Tabla, V. 2016. Effects of tree species diversity and genotypic diversity on leafminers and parasitoids in a tropical forest plantation. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 18:43-51

Moreira, X.***, Abdala-Roberts, L.**, Linhart, Y.B., Mooney, K.A. 2015. Effects of climate on reproductive investment in a masting species: assessment of climatic predictors and underlying mechanisms. Journal of Ecology 103: 1317-1324

Moreira, X.***, Abdala-Roberts, L.**, Parra-Tabla, V., Mooney, K.A. 2015. Latitudinal variation in herbivory: Influences of climatic drivers, herbivore identity, and natural enemies. Oikos 124: 1444-1452

Abdala-Roberts, L.**, Mooney, K. A., Quijano-Medina, T., Campos-Navarrete, M. J., González-Moreno, A., Parra-Tabla, V. 2015. Comparison of tree genotypic diversity and species diversity effects on different guilds of insect herbivores. Oikos 124: 1527-1535

Abdala-Roberts, L.**, Mooney, K.A. 2015. Plant and herbivore evolution within the trophic sandwich. In: Hanley, T., La Pierre, K. Trophic Ecology: Bottom-Up and Top-Down Interactions across Aquatic and Terrestrial Systems. Cambridge University Press 340-364

Abdala-Roberts, L.**, Mooney, K.A. 2014. Ecological and evolutionary consequences of plant genotype diversity in a tri-trophic system. Ecology 95:2879-2893

Moreira, X.***, Abdala-Roberts, L.**, Parra-Tabla, V., Mooney, K.A. 2014. Positive effects of plant genotypic and species diversity on anti-herbivore defenses in a tropical tree species. PLoS One 9:e105438

Abdala-Roberts, L.**, Parra-Tabla, V., Campbell, D.R., Mooney, K.A. 2014. Soil fertility and parasitoids shape herbivore selection on plants. Journal of Ecology 102: 1120-1128

Singer, M.S., Lichter-Marck, I.H., Farkas, T.E., Aaron, E., Whitney, K.D., Mooney, K.A. 2014. Herbivore diet breadth mediates the cascading effects of carnivores in food webs. PNAS 111: 9521-9526

Linhart, Y.B., Moreira, X.***, Snyder, M.A., Mooney, K.A. 2014. Variability in seed cone production and functional response of seed predators to seed cone availability: Support for the predator satiation hypothesis. Journal of Ecology 102: 576-583

Moreira, X.***, Mooney, K.A., Rasmann, S., Petry, W.K.**, Carrillo-Gavilan, A. Zas, R., Sampedro, L. 2014. Trade-offs between constitutive and induced defences drive geographical and climatic clines in pine chemical defences. Ecology Letters 17: 537–546

Abdala-Roberts, L**, Berny-Mier y Terán, J.C., Mooney, K.A., Moguel-Ordonez, Y.B., Tut-Pech, F. 2014. Plant traits mediate effects of predators across pepper (Capsicum annuum) varieties. Ecological Entomology 39: 361-370

Moreira, X.***, Abdala-Roberts, L. **, Linhart, Y.B., Mooney, K.A. 2014. Masting promotes individual- and population-level reproduction by increasing pollination efficiency. Ecology 95:801–807

Pratt, J.D.**, Keefover-Ring, K., Liu, L.Y.*, Mooney, K.A. 2014. Genetically based latitudinal variation in Artemisia californica secondary chemistry. Oikos 123: 953-963

Kimball, S., Lulow, M., Mooney, K.A., Sorenson, Q.* 2014. Establishment of native functional groups in trait-based restoration. Journal of Applied Ecology 22:81-88
Professional Societies
Ecological Society of America
Entomological Society of America
Xerces Society
Research Centers
Center for Environmental Biology
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