John D. Styrsky, PhD

Associate Professor of Biology
Chair, Biology Department

John Styrsky


Degrees and Certifications

  • BS, Biology, Southwestern University, 1992
  • MS, Biology, Illinois State University, 1999
  • PhD, Entomology, Auburn University, 2006


  • Associate Professor of Biology: Lynchburg College, 2012-present
  • Assistant Professor of Biology: Lynchburg College, 2006-2012
  • Doctoral Fellow: Research Center for Ornithology, Max Planck Society, Germany
  • Graduate research assistant: Auburn University
  • Field biologist: The Nature Conservancy (Texas), Idaho Power Company (Idaho and Oregon), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Idaho and Saskatchewan), USDA Forest Service (Oregon), Welder Wildlife Foundation (Texas)

Teaching Areas

  • Introductory Biology (majors and non-majors)
  • Animal Biology
  • Entomology
  • Ornithology
  • Ecology

Professional Interests/Research

I am a broadly trained ecologist with interests that range from behavioral ecology to life-history ecology to community ecology. I have worked extensively with both birds and insects. The most recent focus of my work has been on mutualisms. Current work in this area asks questions about the ecological consequences of mutualisms between invasive ants and honeydew-producing hemipterans, and the novel exploitation of a mutualism between Pseudomyrmex ants and their host plant Acaciaby orb-weaving spiders. I address research questions experimentally in both greenhouse and field settings. I also strongly value investigations of basic natural history to test and develop ecological theory.

Selected examples of my work (asterisks indicate undergraduate contributors):

  • J.D. Styrsky. 2014. An orb-weaver spider exploits an ant-acacia mutualism for enemy-free space. Ecology and Evolution 4:276-283.
  • Garcia, K.* and J.D. Styrsky. 2013. An orb-weaver spider eludes plant-defending acacia ants by hiding in plain sight. Ecological Entomology 28:230-237.
  • Styrsky, J.D. and Eubanks, M.D. 2010. A facultative mutualism between cotton aphids and an invasive ant indirectly benefits plant reproduction. Ecological Entomology 35:190-199.
  • Robinson, W.D., Styrsky, J.D., Payne, B.J.*, Harper, R.G., and Thompson, C.F. 2008. Why are incubation periods longer in the tropics? A common-garden experiment reveals it is all in the egg. American Naturalist 171:532-535.
  • Styrsky, J.D. and Eubanks, M.D. 2007. Ecological consequences of interactions between ants and honeydew-producing insects. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B 274:151-164.
  • Styrsky, J.D., Berthold, P., and Robinson, W.D. 2004. Endogenous control of migration and the influence of photoperiod in an intratropical migrant, the yellow-green vireo. Animal Behaviour 67: 1141-1149.
  • Styrsky, J.D. and Styrsky, J.N. 2003. Golden-fronted Woodpecker provisions nestlings with small mammal prey. Wilson Bulletin 115: 97-98.
  • Styrsky, J.D., Eckerle, K.P., and Thompson, C.F. 1999. Fitness-related consequences of egg mass in nestling house wrens. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B 266: 1253-1258.

Professional Associations and Affiliations

  • American Ornithologists’ Union
  • Ecological Society of America
  • Entomological Society of America