Susan Swensen Witherup

Susan Swensen Witherup

Professor, Department of Biology
Faculty, School of Humanities and Sciences

Representative Publications

(Student research collaborators italicized)

Our research was published in Science, the world’s leading journal of original scientific research, news, and commentary, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Our team examined the extraordinary diversity in a group of tropical herbivorous fruit flies in the paper, “Hidden Neotropical Diversity: Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts.” Scientists have explained the diversity of herbivorous insects as a direct function of plant species diversity and insect specialization. These flies live on plants in the pumpkin family and specialize on different parts of the plant; some species feed and lay eggs on male flowers and other species feed on female parts of the plant and lay their eggs there. This paper suggests that neotropical insect diversity is not simply a function of plant taxonomic and architectural diversity, but also reflects the geographic distribution of hosts and the age and area of the neotropics.  Read Ithaca College's story here.

Marty Condon, Dean C. Adams, Darrin Bann ('06), Kacie Flaherty, John Gammons, Jessica Johnson, Matthew L. Lewis, Sara Marsteller, Sonja J. Scheffer, Francisco Serna, and Susan Swensen. 2008.  Uncovering tropical diversity: six sympatric cryptic species of Blepharoneura (Diptera: Tephritidae) in flowers of Gurania spinulosa (Cucurbitaceae) in eastern Ecuador. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 93: 779-797.

The article descibes the diversity found in plant-eating flies in Ecuador.  The research was supported by an NSF grant to Swensen and her collaborator, Marty Condon (Cornell College, Iowa).  Several IC undergrads also participated in the research: Robin Rakobitsch (Biology '05), Anthony Santoriello (Biology '05) and Leslie Adams (Biology '05).  View the PDF of the abstract here.

Swensen, S. M. & D. R. Benson. 2008. “Evolution of actinorhizal host plants and Frankia endosymbioses”. In: Pawlowski, K. and Newton, W. E., Eds. Nitrogen-Fixing Actinorhizal Symbioses. Series: Nitrogen Fixation: Origins, Applications, and Research Progress. Springer Life Sciences, Boston. 312 p.

Berry, A. M., T. M. Murphy, P. A. Okubara, K. R. Jacobsen, S. M. Swensen, K. Pawlowski. 2004. Novel expression pattern of cytosolic glutamine synthetase in nitrogen-fixing root nodules of the actinorhizal host, Datisca glomerata. Plant Physiology 135: 1849-1862.

Clement, W. L., Tebbitt, M. C. Forrest,L. L., Blair, J. E., Brouillet, L., Eriksson, T., and Swensen, S. M. 2004. Phylogenetic position and biogeography of Hillebrandia sandwicensis (Begoniaceae): a rare Hawaiian relict. American Journal of Botany 1(6): 905-917.

Pawlowski, K.,S. Swensen, C. Guan, A.-E. Hadri, A. M. Berry, and T. Bisseling.  2003.  Distinct patterns of symbiosis-related gene expression in actinorhizal nodules from different plant families. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 16(9): 796-807.

Chase, M.W., S. Zmarzty, M. Delores Lledo, K.J. Wurdack, S.M. Swensen & M.J. Fay.  2002.  When in doubt, put it in Flacourtiaceae: a molecular phylogenetic analysis based on plastid rbcL DNA sequences. Kew Bulletin 57 (1): 141-181

Soltis, D. E., P.S. Soltis, M.W. Chase, M.E. Mort, D.C. Albach, M. Zanis, V. Savlainen, W.H. Hahn, S.B. Hoot, M.F. Fay, M. Axtell, S.M. Swensen, K.C. Nixon, & J.S. Farris.  2000.  Angiosperm Phylogeny inferred from a combined data set of 18S rDNA, rbcL, and atpB sequences.  Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 133: 381-461.

Fay, M. F., Alverson, W., de Bruijn, A. Y., Swensen, S. M., & Chase, M. W.  1998.  Plastid rbcL sequences indicate a close affinity between Diegodendron and Bixa.  Taxon 47: 43-50.

Swensen, S. M., J. N. Luthi, and L. H. Rieseberg.  1998.  Datiscaceae revisited: monophyly and the sequence of breeding system evolution.  Systematic Botany 233(1): 157-169.

Alverson, W. S., K. Karol, D. A. Baum, M. W. Chase, S. M. Swensen, R. McCourt, and K. J. Sytsma.  1997.  Circumscription of the Malvales and relationships to other Rosidae: evidence from rbcL sequence data.  American Journal of Botany 85: 876-887.

Fay, M. F., S. M. Swensen, and M. W. Chase.  1997.  Taxonomic affinities of Medusagyne oppositifolia (Medusagynaceae). Kew Bulletin 52 (1): 111-120.

Soltis, D. E., P. S. Soltis, D. L. Nickrent, L. A. Johnson, W. J. Hahn, S. B. Hoot, J. A. Sweere, R. K. Kuzoff, K. A. Kron, M. W. Chase, S. M. Swensen, E. A. Zimmer, S-M Chaw, L. J. Gillespie, W. J. Kress, and K. J. Sytsma.  1997. Angiosperm phylogeny inferred from 18S rDNA sequences.  Annals of the Missouri. Botanical Garden 84: 1-49

Swensen, S. M. and B. C. Mullin.  1997a.  Phylogenetic relationships among actinorhizal plants: the impact of molecular systematics and implications for the evolution of actinorhizal symbioses. Physiologia Plantarum 99/4: 565-573.

Swensen, S. M. and B.C. Mullin.  1997b. The impact of molecular systematics on hypotheses for the evolution of root nodule symbioses and implications for expanding symbioses to new host plant genera.  Plant and Soil 194/1-2: 185-192

Morton, C., M. W. Chase, K. Kron, and S. M. Swensen.  1996.  A molecular evaluation of the monophyly of the order Ebenales based upon rbcL sequence data.  Systematic Botany 21(4):567-586.

Swensen, S. M.  1996.  The evolution of actinorhizal symbioses: evidence for multiple origins of the symbiotic association. American Journal of Botany 83: 1503-1512.

Soltis, D. E., P. S. Soltis, D. R. Morgan, S. M. Swensen, P. G. Martin, B. C. Mullin, and J. M. Dowd.  1995.  Chloroplast gene sequence data suggest a single origin of symbiotic nitrogen fixation in angiosperms.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA 92: 2647-2651.

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