Travis Marsico - Professor, Curator of Herbarium

TMarsico June 2009asmallsize
Phone: 870-680-8191 (Office)
Address: Arkansas State University I Department of Biological Science I P.O. Box 599 I State University AR 72467


ASU: Biology and Arkansas Biosciences Institute

Cluster Identification:
- Plant Interactions with Other Organisms Cluster

Research Areas/Expertise:
In the Marsico lab we are interested in the causes and consequences of species invasions.  In particular, we focus on how evolutionary history impacts the ecological interactions and community assembly of native and introduced organisms.  We make and utilize plant collections and deposited vouchers in specimen-based research to answer questions about community assembly and invasion, with a goal of improving conservation priorities and land management strategies.  Students in the laboratory have studied a range of topics including plant defense ecology and secondary defense compounds elicited by moth herbivory, causes and consequences of Chinese privet invasion in riparian areas, impacts of water quality and land use on swamp diatom communities, and digitization of natural history collections to make available important resources for the study of evolutionary and ecological questions. 

Research Summary | Selected Publications | Lab Members | Key Collaborators | Research Projects | Links

Research Summary:

The Marsico lab researches evolutionary ecology with an emphasis on species invasions.  Questions that inspire the most interest are those relating to how organisms with differing evolutionary histories interact in coevolved vs. novel environments.

Selected Publications:

Marsico, T. D., K. E. Sauby, C. P. Brooks, M. E. Welch, and G. N. Ervin.  2015.  Phylogeographic evidence for a Florida panhandle-peninsula discontinuity in the distribution of Melitara prodenialis Walker (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), a native cactus-boring moth.  Insect Conservation and Biodiversity.  Early View: DOI: 10.1111/icad.12115

Beck, J. J., N. Baig, D. Cook, N. E. Mahoney, and T. D. Marsico.  2014.  Semiochemicals from ex situ abiotically stressed cactus tissue: A contributing role of fungal spores?  Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 62: 12273-12276.

Woodard, A. M., G. N. Ervin, and T. D. Marsico.  2012.  Host plant defense signaling in response to a coevolved herbivore combats introduced herbivore attack.  Ecology and Evolution 2: 1056-1064.  DOI: 10.1002/ece3.224.

Stewart, J. M., T. D. Marsico, D. Burge, and J. J. Hellmann.  2012. Largest known Quercus garryana Douglas ex Hook. clone discovered on a steep slope at the boundary of Larrabee State Park, Washington, USA.  International Oaks 23: 68-75.

Marsico, T. D., L. E. Wallace, G. N. Ervin, C. P. Brooks, J. E. McClure, and M. E. Welch. 2011. Geographic patterns of genetic diversity from the native range of Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) support the documented history of invasion and multiple introductions for invasive populations. Biological Invasions. DOI: 10.1007/s10530-010-9874-9.

Marsico, T. D., J. W. Burt, E. K. Espeland, G. W. Gilchrist, M. A. Jamieson, L. Lindström, G. K. Roderick, S. Swope, M. Szűcs, and N. D. Tsutsui. 2010. Underutilized resources for studying the evolution of invasive species during their introduction, establishment, and lag phases. Evolutionary Applications 3: 203-219.

Marsico, T. D. and J. J. Hellmann. 2009. Dispersal limitation inferred from an experimental translocation of Lomatium (Apiaceae) species outside their geographic ranges. Oikos 118: 1783-1792.

Pelini, S. L., J. D. K. Dzurisin, K. M. Prior, C. M. Williams, T. D. Marsico, B. J. Sinclair, and J. J. Hellmann. 2009. Translocation experiments with butterflies reveal limits to enhancement of poleward populations under climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106: 11160-11165.

Lab Members:


Travis Marscio, PhD, ASU Biology
Professor, Curator of the Arkansas State University Herbarium, (STAR); 870-680-8191

John Kilmer, MS student (Biology)

Key Collaborators

Research Projects

1) Characterization of cactus transcriptomes to determine genes involved in host plant defense
3) Using hairy-root cultures to produce plant defense compounds

Other research:
1) Using biological control release datasets to elucidate mechanisms of successful species invasion
2) Herbarium specimen digitization of southeastern US plant specimens
3) Determining the scientific contributions of spatial and temporal data from small natural history collections