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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.

Research Interests


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

Selected Publications


  • Toon, A., I. Terry, W. Tang, and L. Cook, G. Walter. 2020. Insect pollination of cycads. Austral Ecology 45: 1033-1058. doi:10.1111/aec.12925
  • Marler, Thomas E., Frankie C. Matanane & L. Irene Terry (2020) Burrowing activity of coconut rhinoceros beetle on Guam cycads. Communicative & Integrative Biology, 13(1): 74-83, DOI: 10.1080/19420889.2020.1774310.
  • Delosos, Ben E., Irene Terry, Aubrey Moore, Lee Yudin, and Thomas Marler. 2020. Biotic threats to Cycas micronesica continue to expand. Insects 2020, 11, 888 1-20. doi:10.3390/insects11120888
  • Terry, I., C. Moore, R. Roemer, and G. Walter. 2021. Unique chemistry associated with diversification in a tightly coupled cycad-thrips obligate pollination mutualism. Phytochemistry 186: article 112715: 1-19. doi.org/10.1016/j.phytochem.2021.112715
  • Marler, T.E. and L. I. Terry. 2021. Aulacaspis yasumatsui invasion reduced Cycas micronesica microstrobilus size and pollinator brood site competence. Insects 12(1): 1023 pp 1-11. doi.org/10.3390/insects12111023
  • Roemer, R. I. Terry, D. Booth, and G. Walter. 2022. Insights from an ancient gymnosperm lineage: ambient temperature, light and the timing of thermogenesis in cycad cones. American Journal of Botany. 109 (1): pp. 151-165. DOI: 10.1002/ajb2.1810.

Courses Taught


  • Biol 1330: Plants and Society