David E. Carr

Research Professor of Environmental Sciences; Director, Blandy Experimental Farm (Courtesy Appointment)
Blandy Farm
(540) 837-1758


  • Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1990

Research Interests

I am interested in the interface between ecology and evolutionary biology.  In recent years my research has focused on the interactions between plants and their antagonists (herbivores and pathogens) and their mutualists (pollinators).  I have taken experimental approaches in the laboratory, greenhouse, and field to understand how genetic variation in plants shape these interactions and vice-versa.  Most of this work has been conducted with species in the genus Mimulus, but I also have had students working on invasive plants.

I have become especially interested in the evolutionary ecology of rewards for pollinators.  Flowers provide almost all of the resources that bees require to complete their life cycle.  Nectar is the primary carbohydrate source, and pollen is the primary protein and lipid source.  My students and I have been studying the information content in signals sent by plants to their pollinators with the goal of understanding how these signals affect pollinator foraging decisions, pollinator population dynamics, and the evolution of rewards and signals.