Dr. Andrea Worthington

Andrea H. Worthington

B.A. University of Chicago (1975)
Ph.D. University of Washington (1983)

Courses: Plant Ecology, Animal Physiology, Biology Seminar (in sensory biology)


Animal Physiology, Plant Ecology ... these are the courses that I teach. What do they have in common? My field of expertise is physiological ecology, the study of the special adaptations or physiological responses of plants and animals to the challenges or stresses of their particular environment. The courses I teach focus on how organisms cope with the challenges and use the resources that their environments provide; water, gas exchange, nutrients, light, heat, cold. Both the animal and plant kingdom have examples of diverse and spectacular adaptations to cope with the environment.


In my research I investigate the neuroethology of insect hunting and capture in dragonflies. I want to know what aspects of prey detection are fixed or flexible and how environmental conditions (light levels, temperature, prey abundance) influence prey-capture behavior or the detection of prey-like stimuli. I use high speed video to record the foraging behavior of free flying dragonflies and neurobiological techniques to investigate the sensory biology of the insects. Students have worked with me on the sensory biology of dragonflies. They have created movies and analyzed films of foraging dragonflies and damselflies and performed experiments on prey preference in aquatic larval dragonflies.


         I have welcomed students into my research lab to study a diversity of subjects and organisms, not just neuroethology of dragonflies. Siena students who participate in a summer program with Operation Wallacea have recieved Siena credit in independent research with me.  Siena students have done research in Indonesia (marine biology and herpetology), South Africa (impact of elephant grazing on bird communities), Egypt (biodiversity of a mountain) with Operation Wallacea.

Representative Publications with Siena students

Olberg, R.M,  A.H. Worthington, and K.R. Venator. 2000.   Visual Tracking and Prey pursuit in dragonflies. J. Comp Physiol.  186: 155-162.

Worthington, A.H., M. Loosemore and K. Haggert 2005 Changing prey size preference with seasons in foraging Sympetrum.  J. International Odonatology 8: 129-141

Olberg RM, Worthington AH, Fox JL, Bessette CE, Loosemore MP (2005) Prey size selection and distance estimation in foraging adult dragonflies. J Comp Physiol A.