Robert J. Gegear
Robert J. Gegear
Office Location
Gateway Park 4016
Contact
Phone: 
+1-508-831-5472
Robert J. Gegear
Assistant Professor
Education: 
Ph.D. University of Western Ontario 2002
Postdoc University of Toronto 2005
Postdoc University of Massachusetts Medical School 2009
Our laboratory investigates brain-behavior relationships in pollinating insects, with particular focus on the cognitive processes and brain structures that underlie foraging and the role of such processes in the evolution and maintenance of floral complexity. We address research questions using a wide variety of experimental approaches, including controlled behavioral experiments, genetic analysis, computer modeling, and confocal microscopy.  Insect pollinators, especially the bumblebee and monarch butterfly, are an excellent model to study brain-behavior relationships within a larger ecological and evolutionary framework. Because they effectively manage an incredible amount of sensory information under natural conditions, their behavioral decisions have significant ecological and evolutionary consequences for flowering plants; they are amenable to controlled laboratory- and field experiments. Notably, many insect pollinators also play a vital role in agro-ecosystems (e.g., bees pollinate two-thirds of crop species worldwide and have an estimated economic value of $3 billion per year in the United States alone), making our research on their brain processes and behavior of tremendous economic and social importance. Our research falls into four general areas:
Office Location
Gateway Park 4016
Contact
Phone: 
+1-508-831-5472