Photo credit: A. Foster

My research uses insects as model systems to explore physiological and developmental responses to global environmental threats with a focus on urbanization and climate change. Grounded in ecology and evolutionary biology, my research is expanding to include studies on the role of microbes and fungal pathogens in influencing host responses to environmental change.


Bonisoli-Alquati, A., Ostermiller, S., Beasley, D.E., Welch, SM, Møller, A.P. and Mousseau, T.A. (2017). Faster development covaries with higher DNA damage in grasshoppers (Chorthippus albomarginatus) from Chernobyl. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 91 (2): 776 – 787.

Beasley, D.E., Bonisoli-Alquati, A. and Mousseau, T.A. (2013). The use of fluctuating asymmetry as a measure of environmentally induced developmental instability: A meta-analysis. Ecological Indicators. 30: 218-226.

Beasley, D.E., Bonisoli-Alquati, A., Welch, S.M., Møller, A.P. and Mousseau, T.A. (2012). Effects of parental radiation exposure on developmental instability in grasshoppers. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 25(6): 1149-1162. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2012.02502.x

Beasley, D.E., Benson, E.P., Welch, S.M., Reid, L.S. and Mousseau, T.A. (2012). The use of citizen scientists to record and map 13-Year periodical cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Magicicada) in South Carolina. Florida Entomologist. 95(2): 486-488.




City of Chicago, April 2016. Photo credit: D. Beasley

Urban growth is among the most significant changes our world societies and ecosystems have experienced since the Industrial Revolution. Urban environments are characterized by fragmented landscapes, higher ambient temperatures, pollution and high human population densities. With urban growth projected to increase by 101% in some parts of the world, these factors will arguably impose significant pressures on individual health and population viability.

Current projects:

  • Entomopathogen diversity across urban landscapes
  • Urban bees
  • Insect immune function


* = undergraduate researcher    ** = high school student researcher

Beasley, D.E., Fitzgerald, J.L.*, Fowler, A.*, Keheler, K.**, Uribe-Lopez, M.M. & Dunn, R.R. Do Bee Wings Adapt for Flight in Urban Environments? Southeastern Naturalist (in review)

Beasley, D.E., Penick, C.A., Boateng, N.S.*, Menninger, H.L. and Dunn, R.R. (2018). Urbanization disrupts latitude-size rule in 17-year cicadas. Ecol. Evol. 00:18

Dunn, R.R. and Beasley, D.E. Democratizing evolutionary biology, lessons from insects. (2016). Current Opinion in Insect Science. 18: 89-92. doi:

Evolution and Ecology of Human Health

Sept 2014 Bellybutton art project4

Bellybutton portrait, September 2014. Photo credit:  Joana Ricou

In light of modern changes in diet, living conditions, medical interventions and hygiene practices humans are dramatically shaping the microbial communities that live on and inside their bodies. The changes in the microecology of our bodies and living environment have implications for human health that we are just beginning to explore. With the use of literature reviews and common microbial techniques, my research seeks to understand how our daily practices and behaviors shape microbial diversity associated with humans.


Miller, E.A., Beasley, D.E., Dunn, R.R. and Archie, E.A. (2016). Lactobacilli dominance and vaginal pH: Why is the human vaginal microbiome unique? Front. Microbiol. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01936.

Beasley, D.E., Koltz, A.M., Lambert, J.E., Fierer, N. and Dunn, R.R. (2015). The evolution of stomach acidity and its relevance to human microbiome. PLOS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134116.

Current projects:

Madden, A.A., Beasley, D.E., Monsur, M., Hu, J., Dunn, R.R. Children are exposed nearly exclusively to bodily bacteria  in daycares, and fail to be exposed to environmental bacteria. (in prep).