Thomas O. Crist


Professor and Chair

374 Pearson Hall
Biodiversity and Landscape Ecology Laboratory

Biographical Information

I am a terrestrial ecologist with interests in how landscape changes by human activities influence biodiversity, species interactions and ecosystem services. Our research lab focuses on insects and their interactions with plants, soils, and other animals. Recent research has focused on ecosystem services provided by diverse insect communities, including pollination, biological control, and cultural services. A long-term experimental study in the Miami Natural Areas is aimed at understanding how litter-dwelling invertebrates are influenced by the interactions among deer, an invasive understory shrub, and exotic earthworms. Past research projects have spanned a wide range of spatial scales from experimental to landscape studies, and habitats including conservation grasslands, forests, and agroecosystems. In the laboratory, we use a wide range of quantitative tools including statistical modeling, spatial analysis, and geographic information systems.

Courses Taught

  • BIO 209 Fundamentals of Ecology
  • BIO 312 Invertebrate Zoology
  • BIO/MBI 333 Field Ecology
  • BIO 400 Capstone Seminar in Biodiversity
  • BIO/MBI 671 Population and Community Ecology

Recent Publications

  • Crist, TO and KU Campbell. In press. Ant biodiversity and functional roles in fragmented forest and grassland ecosystems of the agricultural Midwest, North America. Book chapter forthcoming in Ant-Plant Interactions: Impacts of Humans on Terrestrial Ecosystems. Cambridge University Press.
  • Campbell, KU and TO Crist. 2017. Ant species assembly in constructed grasslands is structured by patch and landscape level processes. Insect Conservation and Diversity 10: 180-191.
  • Mahon, MB, KU Campbell and TO Crist. 2017. Effectiveness of Winkler litter extraction and pitfall traps in sampling of ant communities and functional groups in a temperate forest. Environmental Entomology 46: 470-479.
  • Campbell KU and TO Crist. 2016. Species traits and environmental characteristics together regulate ant-associated biodiversity. Ecology and Evolution 6: 6397-6408.
  • Peters VE, KU Campbell, G Dienno, M Garcia, E Leake, C Loyke, M Ogle, B Steinly and TO Crist. 2016. Ants and plants as indicators of biodiversity, ecosystem services, and conservation value in constructed grasslands. Biodiversity and Conservation 25: 1481-1501.
  • Wayland H, R Manderino, TO Crist and KJ Haynes. 2015. Microbial pesticide application during defoliater outbreaks may reduce loss of forest beetle richness. Ecosphere 6: Article 93.
  • Zhang J, PJ Hou, and TO Crist. 2014. Partitioning of alpha and beta diversity using hierarchical Bayesian models of species distribution and abundance. Environmental and Ecological Statistics 21: 611-625.
  • Crist TO and VE Peters. 2014. Landscape and local controls of insect biodiversity in conservation grasslands: implications for the conservation of ecosystem service providers in agricultural environments. Land 3: 693-718.
  • Diekötter T, and TO Crist. 2013. Quantifying habitat-specific contributions to insect diversity in agricultural mosaic landscapes. Insect Conservation and Diversity 6: 607-618.