Anthony M Rossi


Biology • College of Arts & Sciences

Areas of Expertise

Teaching Responsibilities: General Biology I, Current Applications in Biology: The debate between evolution and creation “science", Ecology, Conservation Biology, Plant Anatomy and Physiology, Entomology, Quantitative Ecology, Methods in Ecological Restoration, and Readings in Ecology and Evolution


Resesarch Interests:  Applied Ecology, Conservation, local bogs, insects and carnivorous plants, UNF conserved lands


B.A. (Biology) Univ. of Missouri – St. Louis (1984)
M.S. (Biology) Univ. of Missouri – St. Louis (1986)
Ph.D. (Biological Sciences) Florida State Univ. (1991)
Post-doc: Univ. South Florida (1991-1997); New Mexico State Univ. (1997)


In general, my research focuses on the ecology and evolution of plant-insect interactions. I am especially interested in the factors that affect host range expansion and sympatric divergence between host-associated populations of herbivorous insects. Specifically, my students and I are investigating whether plant-specific differences in larval development time are capable of producing genetic divergence in the gall midge, Asphondylia borrichiae. Such a scenario is possible if gene flow is greatly reduced between temporally-isolated sympatric host-associated populations of the gall midge. This project is conducted using native populations of Asphondylia along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the southeastern U.S.


In addition, my students and I are investigating the effects of insect herbivory on the production of tannins (inducible polyphenolics) in turkey oak (Quercus laevis). This work focuses on the relationships between the intensity and timing of insect damage on the wounding response of turkey oak. In particular, I am interested in whether the response is localized to the site of damage or whether the trees produce elevated levels of tannins systemically. We are also are also studying the causes responsible for the inter-population differences in the survival, performance and recruitment of the hooded pitcher plant, Sarracenia minor. The overall objective of the study is to determine if this ecologically threatened carnivorous plant can serve as a useful indicator species. We are developing a growth response model of S. minor under variable environmental conditions, which will be tested as an index for wetland quality. Both of these projects are being conducted at UNF, which consists of a central core campus surrounded by large expanses of semi-natural ecosystems that are characteristic of north Florida.


Student’s Choice Outstanding Professor in Biology (by student vote) (2001).

Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award (2005).

Outstanding Faculty Scholarship Award (2007).

Grants and Contracts Awarded

Preservation North Florida Fund and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Grant: Site assessment and planning for the restoration of McGirt’s Creek, Duval County, Florida (Note: this grant includes funding to develop a course for UNF entitled “Methods in Ecological Restoration”). Co-P.I. with Dan Moon. $49,000 (2005-2007).


St. Johns Water Management District:
Establishment of native vegetative riparian buffer zones for nutrient reduction in the lower St. Johns River basin. Co-P.I. with Dan Moon, Dale Casamatta and Kelly Smith. $175,000 (2006-2008).

Publications & Presentations

NOTE: This is a partial publication list that represents my areas of research.


McGregor, J., D.C. Moon and A.M. Rossi. 2016. Role of aeroles on prey abundance and diversity in the hooded pitcher plant Sarracenia minor (Sarraceniaceae). Arthropod-Plant Interactions 10:133-141.


Spirko, L. and A.M. Rossi. 2015. Manner of apical meristem destruction affects growth, reproduction and survival of sea oxeye daisy. Journal of Botany (Open Access) (Vol. 2015), 11 pp. doi:10.1155/2015/480891.


Stiling, P., D.C. Moon, A.M. Rossi, B.A. Hungate and B. Drake. 2013. Plant-insect interactions: The effects of, and recovery from, long-term elevated CO2. New Phytologist200:788-795.


Stokes, K., P. Stiling, M. Gilg and A.M. Rossi. 2012. The gall midge Asphondylia borrichiae (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae): an indigenous example of host-associated genetic divergence in sympatry. Environmental Entomology 41:1246-1254.


Rossi, A.M., R.C. Meyer, K. Stokes and D.C. Moon. 2011. Effects of thinning and clearing on plant abundance, diversity and community composition in former pine tree (Pinus elliottii) farms in northeast Florida. Southeastern Naturalist 10:741-750.


Moon, D.C., A.M. Rossi, J. Depaz, L. McKelvey, S. Elias, E. Wheeler and J. Moon. 2010. Ants provide nutritional and defensive benefits to the carnivorous plant Sarracenia minor. Oecologia 164:185-192.


Stiling P., D.C. Moon, A.M. Rossi, B. Hungate and B. Drake. 2009. Seeing the forest for the trees: long-term exposure to elevated CO2 increases some herbivore densities. Global Change Biology 15:1895-1902.


Moon, D.C., A.M. Rossi, K. Stokes and J. Moon. 2007. Effects of the pitcher mining moth, Exyra semicrocea, on the hooded pitcher plant, Sarracenia minor. American Midland Naturalist 59:321-326.


Rossi, A.M., M. Murray, K. Hughes, M. Kowtowski, D.C. Moon and P. Stiling. 2006. Non-random distribution among a guild of parasitoids: implications for community structure and host survival. Ecological Entomology 31:557-563.


Rossi, A.M., P. Stiling, D.C. Moon, M.V. Cattell and B.G. Drake. 2004. Induced defensive response of myrtle oak to herbivory in ambient and elevated CO2. Journal of Chemical Ecology 30:1143-1152.


Stiling, P., A.M. Rossi and M.V. Cattell. 2003. Associational resistance mediated by natural enemies. Ecological Entomology 28:587-592.


Stiling, P., D.C. Moon, M.D. Hunter, J. Colson, A.M. Rossi, G.J. Hymus and B.G. Drake. 2002. Elevated CO2 lowers relative and absolute herbivore density across all species of a scrub-oak forest. Oecologia 134:82-87.


Stiling, P., A. M. Rossi, and D. Gordon. 2000. The difficulties of single factor thinking in Restoration: replanting a rare cactus in the Florida Keys. Biological Conservation 94: 327-333.


Rossi, A.M., P. Stiling, M.V. Cattell and T.I. Bowdish. 1999. Evidence for the existence for host-associated races in a gall-forming midge: tradeoffs in potential fecundity. Ecological Entomology 24:95-102.


Stiling, P. and A.M. Rossi. 1997. Experimental manipulations of top-down and bottom-up factors in a tri-trophic system. Ecology 78:1602-1606.


Stiling, P. and A.M. Rossi. 1996. Complex effects of genotype and environment on insect herbivores and their  natural enemies on coastal plants. Ecology 77:2212-2218.


Rossi, A.M., B.D. Brodbeck and D.R. Strong. 1996. Response of a xylem-feeding leafhopper to plant species and plant quality. Journal of Chemical Ecology 22:653-671.


Rossi, A.M., J.D. Reeve and J.T. Cronin. 1994. The effect of plant- and parasitoid-induced egg mortality on the interspecific distribution of an oligophagous herbivore. Oecologia 100:89-93.


Rossi, A.M. Does gall diameter affect the parasitism rate of Asphondylia borrichiae (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae). 1992. Ecological Entomology 17:149-154.


Rossi. A.M. and J.H. Hunt. 1988. Honey supplementation and its developmental consequences: evidence for food limitation in the paper wasp, Polistes metricus. Ecological Entomology 13:437-442.

RossiContact Information

Building 59, Room 1310

(904) 620-1934