Dr. Deane Bowers, Curator of Entomology at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History and Professor and Chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, was elected as Fellow in 2015. She is internationally known for her research on the chemical ecology of insect-plant interactions and multi-trophic interactions, as well as the biology of the Lepidoptera.
Bowers was born in New York in 1952, but soon after that her family moved to Winter Park, Florida, where she grew up. It was there that she became fascinated with insects, especially butterflies and moths. She received a B.A. in zoology from Smith College in 1974 and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts in 1979. She then spent two years at Stanford as a postdoctoral fellow. In 1981, she began her first faculty position at Harvard University, as an Assistant Professor and Curator of Lepidoptera. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1986. In 1989, she moved to the University of Colorado, where she was jointly appointed between the Museum of Natural History and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She was promoted to Full Professor in 1996. She began her service as Chair in 2014.
Bowers’s interdisciplinary research is focused on the chemical ecology of insect-plant-natural enemy interactions, with a particular interest in insects that have the ability to sequester plant chemicals to render themselves unpalatable. She has also investigated factors that can contribute to variation in plant chemistry and how that variation affects other trophic levels, including not only herbivores, but also predators and parasitoids. More recently, she has collaborated on a project investigating how biofuel crops affect native bee communities and became involved in a citizen science project focused on bees. She has published more than 130 articles and book chapters and generated more than $4.5 million in grant funding. As curator, she has overseen extensive growth of the Museum’s entomology collection and received funding for improvement of the collection. She served as interim Director of the Museum from 2007–2008. Bowers enjoys mentoring students and has graduated 14 Ph.D. and 13 Master’s students, as well as supervised eight postdoctoral fellows and dozens of undergraduate researchers.
Bowers has given more than 300 invited and contributed presentations, been active on several editorial boards, and served as editor of the Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society. She received the University of Colorado at Boulder Faculty Assembly Excellence Award in Research in 1996. She was chair of the Gordon Conference on Plant-Herbivore Interaction in 1998.
In addition to her overall fascination with insects, Bowers enjoys cooking, gardening, spinning, weaving, and natural dyeing, especially, of course, with insects.
(updated November, 2016)