James Harwood

James Harwood

Associate Professor

Phone (859) 257-4264
Fax (859) 323-1120

Department of Entomology
S-225 Ag Science Center N
Lexington KY 40546-0091

Molecular Ecology


Ph.D. Cardiff University (2001)

Research Interests

My research program seeks to understand mechanisms of foraging by generalist predators and identify their role in biological control through the integration of molecular techniques, behavioral studies and field experiments. We are using these approaches, in parallel, to delineate trophic connectivity and measure the intensity of specific predator-prey interactions. Understanding the forces that regulate the abundance of these important natural enemies can ultimately provide information that discerns the role of prey biodiversity and habitat management on predation dynamics. These research projects therefore seek to understand how interactions between natural enemy and prey communities contribute to the provisioning of ecosystem services that lead to sustainability within agricultural systems.

The current research projects focus on two core areas which have major overlapping themes: spider ecology (with particular emphasis on the ecology and behavior of Linyphiidae) and food web biology which focuses on the utilization of molecular approaches to understand how biodiversity and alternative prey impact ecosystem function and biological control. Furthermore, by applying these research questions across different natural and managed ecosystems allow the extrapolation and interpretation of results in a broad ecological context; generalist predators respond very differently to disturbance regimes and understanding how the dynamics of foraging behavior vary across agricultural habitats and natural ecosystems will ultimately enhance our understanding of the processes that drive foraging behavior in the field. In addition to research in Kentucky and other areas of North America, research in my laboratory is undertaken around the world, including projects in South America, Africa, the Middle East and Australasia.

Selected Publications

Molecular Ecology

  • Luong, L.T., Chapman, E.G., Harwood, J.D., Hudson, P.J. (2013). Linking predator-prey interactions with exposure to a trophically transmitted parasite using PCR-based analysis. Molecular Ecology, 22, 239-248.
  • Schmidt, J.M., Harwood, J.D., Rypstra, A.L. (2012). Foraging activity of a dominant agrobiont predator: molecular evidence for the effect of prey abundance on consumption. Oikos, 121, 1715-1724.
  • Dodd, L.E., Chapman, E.G., Harwood, J.D., Lacki, M.J., Rieske, L.K. (2012). DNA-based techniques allow unprecedented resolution of prey selection by a common forest-dwelling bat (Myotis septentrionalis). Journal of Mammalogy, 93, 1119-1128.
  • Chapman, E.G., Romero, S., Harwood, J.D. (2010). Maximizing collection and minimizing risk: does vacuum sampling increase the likelihood for misinterpretation of food web connections? Molecular Ecology Resources, 10, 1023-1033.
  • Jaramillo, J., Chapman, E.G., Vega, F.E., Harwood, J.D. (2010). Molecular diagnosis of a previously unreported predator-prey association in coffee:Karnyothrips flavipes Jones (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae) predation on the coffee berry borer. Naturwissenschaften, 97, 291-298.

Biological Control

  • Chapman, E.G., Schmidt, J.M., Welch, K.D., Harwood, J.D. (2013). Molecular evidence for dietary selectivity and pest suppression potential in an epigeal spider community in winter wheat. Biological Control, 65, 72-86.
  • Amaral, D.S.S.L., Venzon, M., Duarte, M.V.A., Sousa, F.F., Pallini, A., Harwood, J.D. (2013). Non-crop vegetation associated with chili pepper agroecosystems promote the abundance and survival of aphid predators. Biological Control, 64, 338-346.
  • Opatovsky, I., Chapman, E.G., Weintraub, P.G., Lubin, Y., Harwood, J.D. (2012). Molecular characterization of the differential role of immigrant and agrobiont generalist predators on pest suppression. Biological Control, 63, 25-30.
  • Eskelson, M.J., Chapman, E.G., Archbold, D.D., Obrycki, J.J., Harwood, J.D. (2011). Molecular identification of predation by carabid beetles on exotic and native slugs in a strawberry agroecosystem. Biological Control, 56, 245-253.
  • Harwood, J.D., Phillips, S.W., Lello, J., Sunderland, K.D., Glen, D.M., Bruford, M.W., Harper, G.L., Symondson, W.O.C. (2009). Reduced invertebrate biodiversity affects predator fitness and hence ability to control crop pests. Biological Control, 51, 499-506.

Spider Ecology and Behavior

  • Welch, K.D., Haynes, K.F., Harwood, J.D. (2013). Prey-specific foraging tactics in a sedentary natural enemy. Agricultural and Forest Entomology, in press.
  • Welch, K.D., Haynes, K.F., Harwood, J.D. (2013). Microhabitat evaluation and utilization by a foraging predator. Animal Behaviour, 85, 419-425.
  • Kerzicnik, L.M., Chapman, E.G., Harwood, J.D., Peairs, F.B., Cushing, P.E. (2012). Evidence for biological control of the Russian Wheat Aphid with spiders in winter wheat. Journal of Arachnology, 40, 71-77.
  • Welch, K.D., Crain, P.R., Harwood, J.D. (2011). Successional dynamics of web-building spiders in alfalfa: implications for biological control. Journal of Arachnology, 39, 244-249.
  • Romero, S., Harwood, J.D. (2010). Prey utilization by a community of linyphiid spiders: variation across diel and seasonal gradients. Biological Control, 52, 84-90.