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

Trevathan-Tackett, S.M., Lauer, N.T., Loucks, K., Rossi, A.M. and Ross, C. 2013. Assessing the relationship between seagrass health and habitat quality with wasting disease prevalence in the Florida Keys. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 449:221-229.


Brown, P. and A.M. Rossi. 2013. Geographic and host-associated size variation in the parasitoid wasp Torymus umbilicatus (Hymenoptera: Torymidae) in Florida: implications for host survival and community structure. Florida Entomologist 96:832-838.


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.


Burkhalter, J.C., D.C. Moon and A.M. Rossi. 2013. Diversity and community similarity of arthropods in response to the restoration of former pine plantations. Southeastern Naturalist 12:121-136.


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.


Lauer, N.T. and A.M. Rossi. 2011. Effects of manual damage on turkey oak (Fagales: Fagaceae) foliar tannin concentration and subsequent herbivorous insect abundance. Florida Entomologist 94:467-471.


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.


Rossi, A.M., D.C. Moon, D. Casamatta, K. Smith, C. Bentzien, J. McGregor, A. Norwich, E. Perkerson, R. Perkerson, J. Savinon, K. Stokes and D. Dobberfuhl. 2010. Pilot study on the effects of partially restored riparian plant communities on habitat quality and biodiversity along first-order tributaries of the Lower St. Johns River. Journal of Water Resource and Protection 2:771-782.


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. 2004. Speciation within the insects: model systems for studying sympatric speciation. In: J. Capinera (ed), Encyclopedia of Entomology. Kluwer Academic Press, New York, pp 2060-2062.


Rossi, A.M. 2004. Effects of plant secondary compounds on phytophagous insects. In: J. Capinera (ed), Encyclopedia of Entomology. Kluwer Academic Press, New York, pp.1760-1762.


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.


Rossi, A. M., and D. R. Strong. 2001. Seasonal distribution of the leafhopper Carneocephala floridana (Homoptera: Cicadellidae) in north Florida salt marshes. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 94: 871-876.


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.

RossiContact Information

Building 59, Room 1310

(904) 620-1934