Dr. Judith Bronstein

University Distinguished Professor
Positions and Education: 
  • University Distinguished Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, 2012-present
  • Program Director, National Science Foundation, Division of Environmental Biology, 2007-2008
  • dotProfessor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, 2004-present
  • Associate Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, 1995-2004
  • Assistant Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, 1989-1995
  • Isaak Walton Killam Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Alberta, 1988
  • NATO Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre Louis Emberger (CNRS), Montpellier, France, 1987
  • Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, 1986
  • M.S., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, 1981
  • A.B., Ecology and Environmental Studies, Brown University, 1979
Honors and Awards: 
  • 2008, Distinguished Service Award, National Science Foundation
  • 2007, Distinguished Career Teaching Award, College of Science, University of Arizona
  • 2006, Outstanding Faculty Award, Honors College, University of Arizona
  • 2003, Mortar Board Senior Honor Society Hall of Fame Award
  • 2000, Distinguished Teaching Award, College of Science, University of Arizona
Editorial Work: 
  • Editor-in-Chief, The American Naturalist, 2013-2017
  • Advisory Editor, Oxford Bibliographies Online: Ecology, 2011-2014
  • Editor, The American Naturalist, 2010-2012
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Ecology, 2009-2012
Research Interests: 

Judith Bronstein’s lab focuses on the ecology and evolution of interspecific interactions, particularly on the poorly-understood, mutually beneficial ones (mutualisms). Using a combination of field observations, experiments, and theory, we are examining how population processes, abiotic conditions, and the community context determine net effects of interactions for the fitness of each participant species. Specific conceptual areas of interest include: (i) conflicts of interest between mutualists and their consequences for the maintenance of beneficial outcomes; (ii) the causes and consequences of "cheating" within mutualism; (iii) context-dependent outcomes in both mutualisms and antagonisms; and (iv) anthropogenic threats to mutualisms. Pollination and ant-plant protection mutalisms in the desert Southwest have been of particular interest to us in recent years, though the lab’s focus on concepts and theory have led to investigations of many other systems as well.

Selected Publications: 
  1. Lanan, M.C., and J.L. Bronstein. (2013). An ants-eye view of an ant-plant protection mutualism. in press, Oecologia.
  2. Marazzi, B., E. Conti, M.J. Sanderson, M.M. McMahon, and J.L. Bronstein (2013). Diversity and evolution of a trait mediating ant-plant interactions: Insights from extrafloral nectaries in Senna (Leguminosae). in press, Annals of Botany.
  3. Jones, E.I., R. Férrière, and J.L. Bronstein (2012). Competition and the evolutionary dynamics of mutualism. Year in Evolutionary Biology 2011: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1256: 66-88.
  4. Mars, M.M., J.L. Bronstein, and R. Lusch (2012). The value of a metaphor: organizations as ecosystems. Organizational Dynamics 41(4).
  5. Bshary, R. and J.L. Bronstein (2011). A general scheme to predict partner control mechanisms in pairwise cooperative interactions between unrelated individuals. Ethology 117: 271-283.
  6. Kiers, E.T., T.M. Palmer, A.R. Ives, J.F. Bruno, and J.L. Bronstein (2010). Mutualisms in a changing world: A global perspective. Ecology Letters 13: 1459-1474.
  7. Palmer, T.M., D.F. Doak, M.L. Stanton, J.L. Bronstein, E.T. Kiers, T.P. Young, and J.R. Goheen (2010). Synergy of multiple partners, including freeloaders, increases host fitness in a multispecies mutualism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 107: 17234-17239.
  8. Irwin, R., J.L. Bronstein, J. Manson, and L.E. Richardson. (2010) Nectar-robbing: ecological and evolutionary perspectives. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 41: 271-292.
  9. Bronstein, J.L. (2009). The evolution of facilitation and mutualism. Journal of Ecology 97: 1160-1170.
  10. Jones, E.I., R. Ferriere, and J.L. Bronstein (2009). Eco-evolutionary dynamics of mutualists and exploiters. American Naturalist 174: 780-794.
  11. Ness, J.H., W.F. Morris, and J.L. Bronstein (2009). For ant-protected plants, the best defense is a hungry offense. Ecology 90:2823-2831.
  12. Bronstein, J.L., T. Huxman, B. Horvath, M. Farabee, and G. Davidowitz (2009). Reproductive biology of Datura wrightii: the benefits of associating with an herbivorous pollinator. Annals of Botany 103: 1435-1443.
  13. Riffell, J.A., R. Alarcón, L. Abrell, G. Davidowitz, J.L. Bronstein, and J.G. Hildebrand (2008). Behavioral consequences of innate preferences and olfactory learning in hawkmoth-flower interactions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105: 3404-3409.
  14. Ferrière, R., M. Gauduchon, and J.L. Bronstein (2007). Evolution and persistence of obligate mutualists and exploiters: competition for partners and evolutionary immunization. Ecology Letters 10: 115-126.
  15. J.L. Bronstein, I. Izhaki, R. Nathan, J.J. Tewksbury, O. Speigel, and A. Lotan (2007) Fleshy-fruited plants and frugivores in desert ecosystems. in: A.J. Dennis, E.W. Schupp, R.J. Green and D.W. Westcott (ed), Seed dispersal: Theory and its Application in a Changing World.Cambridge University Press.
  16. J.L. Bronstein, R. Alarcon, and M. Geber (2006). Tansley Review: Evolution of insect/plant mutualisms. New Phytologist 172(3):412-428.
  17. J.H. Ness, W.F. Morris, and J.L. Bronstein (2006). Integrating quality and quantity of mutualistic service to contrast ant species visiting Ferocactus wislizeni, a plant with extrafloral nectaries. Ecology 87: 912-921.
  18. W.F. Morris, W.G. Wilson, J.L. Bronstein, and J.H. Ness (2005) Environmental forcing and the temporal dynamics of a competitive guild of cactus-tending ants. Ecology 86: 3190-3199.
  19. J.N. Holland, J.H. Ness, A. Boyle and J.L. Bronstein (2005) Mutualisms as consumer-resource interactions. in: P. Barbosa (ed), Ecology of Predator-Prey Interactions. Oxford University Press, pp. 17-33.
  20. R.S. Bshary and J.L. Bronstein. (2004) Game structures in mutualisms: what can the evidence tell us about the kinds of models we need? Advances in the Study of Behavior 34:59-104.
  21. J.H. Ness and J.L. Bronstein. (2004) The effects of invasive ants on prospective ant mutualists. Biological Invasions 6: 445-461.
  22. L.S. Adler and J.L. Bronstein. (2004) Attracting antagonists: Does floral nectar increase leaf herbivory? Ecology 85: 1519-1526.
  23. J.H. Ness, J.L. Bronstein, A.N. Andersen, and J.N. Holland. (2004) Ant body size predicts the dispersal distance of ant-adapted seeds: implications for mutualism disruption by invasive ants. Ecology 85: 1244-1250.
  24. J.L. Bronstein, U. Dieckmann, and R. Ferrière.  (2004) Coevolutionary dynamics and the conservation of mutualisms. pp. 305-326 in: Evolutionary Conservation Biology.  R. Ferrière, U. Dieckmann, and D. Couvet (editors), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  25. J.L. Bronstein (2003) The scope for exploitation within mutualistic interactions. in: Genetics and Evolution of Cooperation (P. Hammerstein, editor), MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. pp. 185-202.
  26. C.T. Bergstrom, J.L. Bronstein, R. Bshary, R.C. Connor, M. Daly, S.A. Frank, H. Gintis, L.
  27. J.L. Bronstein, W.G. Wilson, and W.F. Morris. (2003) The ecological dynamics of mutualist/ antagonist communities. American Naturalist 162: S24-S39.
  28. W.G. Wilson, W.F. Morris, and J.L. Bronstein. (2003) Coexistence of mutualists and exploiters in spatial landscapes. Ecological Monographs 73: 397-413.
  29. W.F. Morris, J.L. Bronstein, and W.G. Wilson. (2003) Three-way coexistence in obligate mutualist-exploiter communities: the potential role of competition. American Naturalist 161: 860-875.
  30. R. Ferrière, J.L. Bronstein, S. Rinaldi, M. Gauduchon, and R. Law. (2002) Cheating and the evolutionary stability of mutualism. Proceedings of Royal Society of London, Series B 269: 773-780.
  31. J.N. Holland, D.L. DeAngelis, and J.L. Bronstein. (2002) Population dynamics and mutualism: Functional responses of benefits and costs. American Naturalist 159: 231-244.
  32. J.L. Bronstein and P. Barbosa. (2002) Multi-trophic/multi-species mutualistic interactions: the role of non-mutualists in shaping and mediating mutualisms. Pp. 44-65 in Multitrophic Level Interactions.  B. Hawkins and T. Tscharntke (editors), Cambridge University Press.
  33. J.L. Bronstein (2001) Mutualisms. in: Evolutionary Ecology: Perspectives and Synthesis (C. Fox, D. Fairbairn, and D. Roff, editors), Oxford University Press, New York.  pp. 315-330.
  34. R. Law, J.L. Bronstein, and R. Ferrière (2001) On mutualists and cheaters: plant-insect coevolution in pollinating seed-parasite systems. Journal of Theoretical Biology 212: 373-389.
  35. J.L. Bronstein (2001) The costs of mutualism. American Zoologist 41: 127-141.
  36. J.L. Bronstein (2001) The exploitation of mutualisms. Ecology Letters 4: 277-287.
  37. F. Kjellberg, E. Jousselin, J.L. Bronstein, A. Patel, J. Yokoyama and J-Y. Rasplus (2001) Pollination mode in fig wasps:  the predictive power of correlated traits. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B 268: 1113-1121.

Contact Information

Lab Phone: 
(520) 621-3534
Office Phone: 
(520) 621-3534
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