Main Navigation


University Resources


Irene Terry

Research Professor


Office/Building: Biol 124-I
Phone: 801-585-3139
Email: terry@biology.utah.edu

Research Statement


My research centers on understanding how plant traits function in mediating their host specific insects, whether these insects are mutualists or predators. Currently we are investigating the interactions between cycad cones and their specific pollinators. Cycads are dioecious gymnosperms whose diversity and abundance are much reduced relative to their peak in the Mesozoic. Many cycad species are endangered but little is known about their sexual reproductive activities. Most species are pollinated by insects that are dependent on their host cones for food and reproduction. Most pollinators are beetles, but an unusual pollinator found in Australian Macrozamia cycads are thrips that feed only on pollen. Cones of most species are thermogenic and produce strong odors that are thought to mediate the pollinator behavior. Our work has demonstrated how cone thermogenic processes mediate pollinator behavior by both repelling them away from cones and attracting them depending on specific cone traits.

Specific Interests
  • Plant-Insect interactions
  • Thrips behavior
  • Pollination biology of cycad plants

Selected Publications


  • Roemer, R., I. Terry, and G. Walter. 2008. Unstable, self-limiting thermochemical temperature oscillations in Macrozamia cycads. Plant, Cell, and Environment 31: 769-782.
  • Terry, I., G. Walter, C. Hull, C. Moore, & R. Roemer. 2007 Odor-mediated push-pull pollination in cycads. Science 318:70.
  • Terry, I. Terry, I., G. Walter, C. Moore, P. Forster, and J. Donaldson. 2005 Pollination of Australian Macrozamia cycads - effectiveness and behavior of specialist vectors in a dependent mutualism. American Journal of Botany 92: 931-940.
  • Roemer, R., I. Terry, C. Chockley, and J. Jacobsen .2005. Experimental Evaluation and Thermo-Physical Analysis of thermogenesis in male and female cycad cones. Oecologia 144: 88-97
  • Terry, I., C. J. Moore, G. H. Walter, P. I. Forster, R.B. Roemer, J. Donaldson, P. Machin. 2004. Association of cone thermogenesis and volatiles with pollinator specificity in Macrozamia cycads. Plant Systematics & Evolution 243: 233-247.
  • Seymour, R, . I Terry, and R. Roemer. 2004. Respiration and thermogenesis by cones of the Australian cycad, Macrozamia machinii. Functional Ecology 18: 925- 930

Courses Taught


  • Biol 1330: Plants and Society