College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

Daniel Gruner

Daniel Gruner

Associate Professor


Office Phone: 301-405-3957
Fax: 301-314-9290
Office Address: Department of Entomology * 4112 Plant Sciences Building * University of Maryland * College Park, MD 20742-4454


  • BSCI 361 Principles of Ecology 
  • ENTM 612 Insect Ecology
  • ENTM 798V Graduate seminar: R for computation and analysis in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Graduate Program Affiliations

  • Entomology
  • BISI - BISI-Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, & Systematics (BEES)

Research Interests

My research delves into the regulation of interacting species and maintenance of biodiversity in ecological communities. I seek to understand spatial patterns of relative abundance and species richness, and the factors that promote or impair local population persistence and species coexistence in ecosystems, especially among the hyperdiverse insects and invertebrates. The structure and dynamics of who eats who in food webs - trophic ecology - provides central underpinnings to ecology and to this research. We pursue broadly conceptual research at large scales as well as local phenomena in 'natural' and managed ecosystems. See my research page and publications for more details.

Check my letter to prospective students for MSc or PhD opportunities and advice.

Selected Publications

  • Borer, E.T., E. Seabloom, D.S. Gruner et al. 2014. Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation. Nature doi:10.1038/nature13144
  • Thompson, B.M., J. Bodart, C. McEwen, and D.S. Gruner. 2014. Adaptations for symbiont-mediated external digestion in Sirex noctilio Fab. (Hymenoptera: Siricidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 107:453-460 (link)
  • Cavanaugh, K.C., J.R. Kellner, A.J. Forde, D.S. Gruner, J.D. Parker, W. Rodriguez, and I.C. Feller. 2014. Poleward expansion of mangroves is a threshold response to decreased frequency of extreme cold events. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111:723-727 (link)
  • Gruner, D.S. 2013. Trophic Cascades. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences (eLS), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester. doi:10.1002/9780470015902.a0003183.pub2 (link)
  • Gruner, D.S. and K.A. Mooney. 2013. Green grass and high tides: grazing lawns in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Oikos 122:313–316 (pdf)
  • Goeriz Pearson, R.E., S.T. Behmer, D.S. Gruner, and R.F. Denno. 2011. Effects of diet quality on performance and nutrient regulation in an omnivorous katydid. Ecological Entomology 36:471-479 (pdf)
  • Mooney, K.A., D.S. Gruner, N.A. Barber, S.M. Philpott, S.A. Van Bael, R. Greenberg. 2010. Interactions among predators and the cascading effects of vertebrate insectivores on arthropod communities and plants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107:7335-7340 (open access)
  • Gruner, D.S., A. Kolekar, J.P. McLaughlin, and D.R. Strong. Host resistance reverses the outcome of competition between microparasites. Ecology 90:1721-1728 (open access)
  • Ram, K., E.L. Preisser, D.S. Gruner, and D.R. Strong. Metapopulation dynamics override local limits on long-term parasite persistence. Ecology 89(12): 3290-3297 pdf
  • Denno, R.F., D.S. Gruner, and I. Kaplan. Potential for entomopathogenic nematodes in biological control: a meta-analytical synthesis and insights from trophic cascade theory. Journal of Nematology 40(2):61-72 pdf
  • Gruner, D. S. et al. 2008. A cross-system synthesis of herbivore and nutrient resource control on producer biomass. Ecology Letters 11:740-755 link
  • Van Bael, S.A., S.M. Philpott, R. Greenberg, P. Bichier, N.A. Barber, K.A. Mooney, and D.S. Gruner. 2008. Birds as predators in tropical agroforestry systems. Ecology 89:928934 pdf
  • Gruner, D.S., N.J. Gotelli, J.P. Price and R.H. Cowie. 2008. Does species diversity drive speciation? A reassessment with the Hawaiian biota. Ecography 31:279-285 pdf
  • Elser, J.J., M.E.S. Bracken, E.E. Cleland, D.S. Gruner, W.S. Harpole, H. Hillebrand, J.T. Ngai, E.W. Seabloom, J.B. Shurin, and J.E. Smith. 2007. Global analysis of nitrogen and phosphorus limitation of primary producers in freshwater, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems. Ecology Letters 10:1135-1142 pdf
  • Gruner, D.S. 2007. Geological age, ecosystem development, and resource constraints on arthropod community structure in the Hawaiian Islands. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 90:551-570 pdf
  • Hillebrand, H., D.S. Gruner, E.T. Borer, M.E.S. Bracken, E.E. Cleland, W.S. Harpole, J.T. Ngai, E.W. Seabloom, J.B. Shurin, and J.E. Smith. 2007. Consumer versus resource control of producer diversity depends on ecosystem type and producer community structure. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104:10904-10909 pdf
  • Handler, A.T., D.S. Gruner, W.P. Haines, M. Lange, and K.Y. Kaneshiro. 2007. Arthropod surveys on Palmyra Atoll, Line Islands , with insights into the decline of the native tree Pisonia grandis (Nyctaginaceae). Pacific Science 61:485-502 pdf
  • Shurin, J.B., D.S. Gruner and H. Hillebrand. 2006. All wet or dried up? Real differences between aquatic and terrestrial food webs. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 273:1-9 pdf
  • Gruner, D.S. 2005. Biotic resistance to an invasive spider conferred by generalist insectivorous birds on Hawaii Island. Biological Invasions 7:541-546 pdf
  • Gruner, D.S. 2004. Attenuation of top-down and bottom-up forces in a complex terrestrial community. Ecology 85:3010-3022 pdf


  • 2001-2003 Environmental Leadership Program Fellowship
  • 2000-2002 National Science Foundation GK-12 Teaching Fellowship
  • 2000, 2002 ARCS Foundation Scholarship
  • 1999 Watson T. Yoshimoto Prize for Animal Wildlife Conservation
  • 1997-1999 Environmental Protection Agency STAR Graduate Fellowship


  • Ph.D. in Zoology. University of Hawai‘i, Mânoa, HI, 2004
  • A.B. in Biology. Hamilton College, Clinton, NY 1993