Wade B. Worthen

Wade Worthen

Rose J. Forgione Professor of Biology

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I am a community ecologist studying the processes that influence the number of species that coexist in natural systems. I use insect communities as model systems because they are easy to manipulate and control in both laboratory and field experiments. And, as the most diverse form of life on the planet (representing about half of all named species), their responses to human impact are critical for understanding how humans are affecting the biosphere.


  • Ph.D., Rutgers University
  • M.S., Rutgers University
  • B.S., Bucknell University

I am continually fascinated, inspired, awed, and renewed when I observe and study living things. Teaching is my way to express this excitement, and to try to inspire an interest in living things in my students. Over the past 20 years, I have focused on relationships between body size and competitive ability in dragonfly communities, and have shown that dragonfly species use perches of different heights as a consequence of a competitive hierarchy; large species use tall perches and, through competitive interactions, relegate smaller species to progressively shorter perches. I am currently examining how human changes in land use are affecting dragonfly communities. I am excited to be a part of this process of scientific inquiry, and I invite students to join me in this endeavor.


*Denotes undergraduate coauthor

  • Worthen, W. B., R. K. Fravel*, and C. P. Horne*. 2021. Downstream changes in odonate (Insecta: Odonata) communities along a suburban to urban gradient: untangling natural and anthropogenic effects. Insects 12(3): 201. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12030201.
  • Worthen, W. B., and M.G. Chamlee*. 2020. Determinants of adult odonate community structure at several spatial scales: effects of habitat type and landscape context. International Journal of Odonatology 23:365-379. https://doi.org/10.1080/13887890.2020.1796831.
  • Rasmussen, P.R., J. A. Self*, L. Few*, and W. B. Worthen. 2019. Sibling niches and the diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The Journal of Individual Psychology 75:104-121. https://doi.org/10.1353/jip.2019.0010.
  • Worthen, W. B. 2018. Differences in male-male tandem formation in two species of Micrathyria (Odonata: Libellulidae). Notulae Odonatologicae 9(2) 2018: 60-66.https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1481073.
  • Worthen, W. B. 2018. Confirming the relationship between body size and perch height in tropical odonates (Odonata: Libellulidae): wet-season contrasts and experimental tests. International Journal of Odonatology 21:229-239. https://doi.org/10.1080/13887890.2018.1536894.
  • Worthen, W. B., and L. Hoke*. 2018. Pseudoreplication in species comparisons: do individual differences matter? Notulae odonatologicae9(1) 2018: 18-25. doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1230421.
  • Worthen, W. B. 2017. Perch selection in a guild of tropical dragonflies (Odonata: Libellulidae): relationships with body size and thermal ecology. International Journal of Odonatology 20(2): 63-78. doi.org/10.1080/13887890.2017.1330225.
  • Worthen, W. B. 2016. Observation of wing-whirring behavior in a tropical perching dragonfly, Micrathyria atra (Odonata: Libellulidae). Notulae Odonatologicae, 8(8): 261-265.
  • Worthen, W. B., and P.H. Morrow*.2016. Perch selection by three occurring Species of Celithemis (Odonata: Libellulidae): Testing for a competitive hierarchy among similar species. Psyche, vol. 2016, Article ID 9028105. doi.org/10.1155/2016/9028105.
  • Worthen, W. B., and C. C. Phillips*. 2014. Are community patterns in flight height driven by antagonistic interactions? International Journal of Odonatology 17:7-26.
  • Worthen, W.B., and D. Merriman*. 2012. Relationships between carabid beetle communities and forest stand parameters: Taxon congruence or habitat association? Southeastern Naturalist 12:379-386.
  • Worthen, W. B. 2010. Emergence-site selection by the dragonfly Epitheca spinosa (Hagen). Southeastern Naturalist 9:251-158.
  • Worthen, W. B. 2010. Flying Dragons: A Colorful field experiment in resource partitioning. American Biology Teacher 72:432-435.
  • Worthen, W. B., A. S. Henderson, P. R. Rasmussen, and T. L. Benson (Eds.). 2009. Competition: A multidisciplinary analysis. Boston, MA: Sense.
  • Worthen, W. B. 2009. Dominance of the competition paradigm. IN: W. B. Worthen, A. S. Henderson, P. R. Rasmussen, and T. L. Benson (Eds.). Competition: A multidisciplinary analysis. (pp. xiii-xv). Boston, MA: Sense.
  • Worthen, W. B. 2009. Darwin's entangled bank: the competition paradigm in ecology. IN: W. B. Worthen, A. S. Henderson, P. R. Rasmussen, and T. L. Benson (Eds.). Competition: A multidisciplinary analysis. (pp. 17-31). Boston, MA: Sense.
  • Worthen, W. B. and C. M. Jones*. 2007. The effects of wind speed, competition, and body size on perch height selection in a guild of Libellulidae species (Odonata). International Journal of Odonatology 257-272.
  • Worthen, W. B., and C. M. Jones*. 2006. Relationships between body size, wing morphology, and perch height selection in a guild of Libellulidae species (Odonata). Intenational Journal of Odonatology 9:235-250.
  • Worthen, W. B., and E. R. Patrick*. 2004. The effect of intraspecific and interspecific interactions on perch-height preferences of three odonate taxa. International Journal of Odonatology 7:529-541.
  • Worthen, W. B., S. Gregory*, J. Felten*, and M. J. Hutton*. 2004. Larval habitat associations of the Common Sanddragon (Progomphus obscurus Rambur) at two spatial scales (Odonata: Gomphidae). International Journal of Odonatology 7:97-109.
  • Worthen, W. B. 2003. Nested subset structure of larval odonate assemblages in the Enoree River (USA). International Journal of Odonatology 6:79-90.
  • Worthen, W. B., and D. C. Haney. 2002. Desiccation tolerance of three mycophagous Drosophila species. American Midland Naturalist 147:387-392.
  • Worthen, W. B. 2002. Community ecology of larval odonates in the Enoree River basin of South Carolina. Southeastern Naturalist 1:205-216.
  • Worthen, W. B., T. E. Blue*, D. C. Haney, and C. B. Andersen. 2001. Abundance of Boyeria vinosa larva in the Enoree River basin, USA: chemical, physical, and biological correlates. International Journal of Odonatology 4:231-241.
  • Worthen, W. B., C. C. Cuddy*, D. C. Haney, V. L. Turgeon, and C. B. Andersen. 2001. The effect of an industrial spill on the macrofauna of a South Carolina stream: physiological to community-level responses. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 3:467-477.
  • Andersen, C. B., W. B. Worthen, and B. Polkinghorn. 2001. Humanism in the environmental sciences: a reevaluation. Journal of College Science Teaching 31:202-206.
  • Worthen, W. B., and D. C. Haney. 1999. Temperature tolerance in three mycophagous Drosophila species: relationships with community structure. Oikos 86:113-118.
  • Worthen, W. B., M. T. Jones*, and R. M. Jetton*. 1998. Community structure and environmental stress: desiccation promotes nestedness in mycophagous fly communities. Oikos 81:45-54.
  • Rohde, K., W. B. Worthen, M. Heap, B. Hugueny, and J. Guegan. 1998. Nestedness in assemblages of metazoan ecto- and endoparasites of marine fish. Int. J. Parasitol. 28:543- 549.
  • Worthen, W. B. 1996. Membership patterns and nested subset analyses: Basic descriptors for community ecology. Oikos 76:417-426.
  • Worthen, W. B. 1996. Latitudinal variation in the development time and mass of Drosophila melanogaster: comparisons within and between populations along a latitudinal gradient. Evolution 50:2523-2529.
  • Worthen, W. B., and K. Rohde. 1996. Nested subset analyses of colonization-dominated communities: metazoan ectoparasites of marine fishes. Oikos 75:741-748.
  • Worthen, W. B., M. L. Carswell*, and K. A. Kelly*. 1996. Nested subset structure of larval mycophagous fly assemblages: Nestedness in a non-island system. Oecologia 107:257-264.
  • Worthen, W. B., B. R. Bloodworth*, and M. B. Hobbs*. 1995. Habitat variability in the effects of predation and microclimate on mycophagous fly communities. Ecography 18:248-258.
  • Worthen, W. B., S. Mayrose*, and R. G. Wilson*. 1994. Complex interactions between predation, rainfall, and microclimate: Effects on mycophagous fly communities. Oikos 69:277-286.
  • Worthen, W. B., M. N. Hipp*, C. T. Twardokus*, and R. Roller*. 1993. Effects of ant predation and larval density on mycophagous fly communities. Oikos 66:526-532.
  • Lewis*, G. P. and W. B. Worthen. 1992. Effects of predation and microenvironment on the survival of Drosophila tripunctata larvae. Oikos 64:553-559.
  • Worthen, W. B. and J. L. Moore*. 1991. Higher order interactions and indirect effects: A resolution using laboratory Drosophila communities. American Naturalist 138: 1092-1104.
  • White, D. W., W. Worthen, and E. W. Stiles. 1990. Woodlands in a post-agricultural landscape in New Jersey. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 117:256-265.
  • Worthen, W. B. and T. R. McGuire. 1990. Predictability of ephemeral mushrooms and implications for mycophagous fly communities. American Midland Naturalist 124:12-23.
  • Worthen, W. B. 1989. Effects of resource density on mycophagous fly dispersal and community structure. Oikos 54:145-153.
  • Worthen, W. B. 1989. Predator-mediated coexistence in laboratory communities of mycophagous Drosophila (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Ecological Entomology 14:117-126.
  • Worthen, W. B. 1988. Slugs (Arion spp.) facilitate mycophagous drosophilids in laboratory and field experiments. Oikos 53:161-166.
  • Worthen, W. B. and T. R. McGuire. 1988. A criticism of the aggregation model of coexistence: non- independent distribution of dipteran species on ephemeral resources. American Naturalist 131:453-458.
  • Worthen, W. B. and E. W. Stiles. 1988. Pollen-limited fruit set in isolated patches of Maianthemum canadense (Desf.) in New Jersey. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 115:299-305.
  • Worthen, W. B. and E. W. Stiles. 1986. Phenotypic and demographic variability among patches of Maianthemum canadense (Desf.) in central New Jersey, and the use of self-incompatibility for clone discrimination. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 113:398-405.