Patrick Guerra

Patrick Anthony Guerra

Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor

Rieveschl Hall


A&S Biological Sciences - 0006

Professional Summary

SBBE; sensory ecology; orientation and navigation mechanisms; animal architecture; animal movement patterns and life history traits; insect flight; cocoon construction; circadian biology; biomimetics


BSc: University of Toronto Toronto, ON, (Biology and Philosophy)

MSc: University of Toronto Toronto, ON, (Biology)

PhD: McGill University Montreal, QC, (Biology)

Research and Practice Interests

The overarching goal of our work is to understand how animals use different types of sensory cues, derived from the world around them, in order to inform behavioral decision-making. In particular, we investigate how animals perceive and use sensory cues to faciliate movement across broad spatial and temporal scales. Understanding animal movement is important since it can strongly influence individual survivorship and fitness, and for many species, it is a crucial aspect of their biology that is now under threat due to contemporary environmental stressors.

We study monarch butterflies and their iconic long-distance migration in North America as a system to better understand large-scale animal movement phenomenon (e.g., migration). Our work focuses on examining how monarch butterflies use various sensory-based orientation mechanisms to guide them during their long-distance journey.

We also study cecropia moths and their construction of complex dimorphic, multi-layered cocoons, as a way to examine small-scale animal movement behavior (e.g., animal architecture). This research aims to understand the function and evolution of complex architectural design in cocoons which serve as overwintering structures for individuals. 

In addition to the basic knowledge on animal movement that our research yields, our work can inspire biomedical, biomimetic, and engineering applications, as well as provide information that can help preserve such wonders of nature.

If you are interested in joining the lab, please email me and I would be happy to discuss research opportunities. Inquiries about conducting undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral research are welcome.

Research Support

Grant: #URS Guerra New Faculty Development Award – 2017/18 Investigators:Guerra, Patrick 06-01-2018 -06-30-2019 UC's Research Support URS Guerra New Faculty Development Award – 2017/18 Role:PI $2,500.00 Active Level:Internal UC


Peer Reviewed Publications

Guerra, P. A., & Reppert, S. M. (2017. ) Dimorphic cocoons of the cecropia moth (Hyalophora cecropia): morphological, behavioral, and biophysical differences .PLOS ONE, , 12 (3 ) ,e0174023

Reppert, S. M., Guerra, P. A., & Merlin, C. (2016. ) Neurobiology of monarch butterfly migration .Annual Review of Entomology, , 61 ,25-42

Guerra, P. A., & Reppert, S. M. (2015. ) Sensory basis of lepidopteran migration: focus on the monarch butterfly .Current Opinion in Neurobiology, , 34 ,20-28

Guerra, P. A., Gegear, R. J., & Reppert, S. M. (2014. ) A magnetic compass aids monarch butterfly migration .Nature Communications, , 5 ,4164

Guerra, P. A., & Reppert, S. M. (2013. ) Coldness triggers northward flight in remigrant monarch butterflies .Current Biology, , 23 ,419-423

Guerra, P. A., Merlin, C., Gegear, R. J., & Reppert, S. M. (2012. ) Discordant timing between antennae disrupts sun compass orientation in migratory monarch butterflies .Nature Communications, , 3 ,958

Guerra, P. A. (2011. ) Evaluating the life-history trade-off between dispersal capability and reproduction in wing dimorphic insects: a meta-analysis .Biological Reviews, , 86 ,813-835

Guerra, P. A., & Pollack, G. S. (2010. ) Colonists and Desperadoes: different fighting strategies in wing dimorphic male Texas field crickets .Animal Behaviour, , 79 ,1087-1093

Guerra, P. A., & Pollack, G. S. (2009. ) Flight behaviour attenuates the trade-off between flight capability and reproduction in a wing polymorphic cricket .Biology Letters, , 5 ,229-231

Guerra, P. A., & Pollack, G. S. (2007. ) A life history trade-off between flight ability and reproductive behavior in male field crickets (Gryllus texensis) .Journal of Insect Behavior, , 20 ,377-387

Guerra, P. A., & Mason, A. C. (2005. ) Male competition and aggregative behaviour are mediated by acoustic cues within a temporally unstructured aggregation .Behaviour, , 142 ,71-90

Guerra, P. A., & Mason, A. C. (2005. ) Information on resource quality mediates aggression between male Madagascar hissing cockroaches, Gromphadorhina portentosa (Dictyoptera: Blaberidae) .Ethology, , 111 ,626-637

Montealegre-Z, F., Guerra, P. A., & Morris, G. K. (2003. ) Panoploscelis specularis (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae: Pseudophyllinae): extraordinary female sound generator, male description, male protest and calling signals .Journal of Orthoptera Research, , 12 ,173-181

Guerra, P. A., & Morris, G. K. (2002. ) Calling communication in meadow katydids (Orthoptera, Tettigoniidae): female preferences for species-specific wingstroke rates .Behaviour, , 139 ,23-43

Post Graduate Training and Education

Postdoctoral fellow, University of Missouri, , Columbia, MO

Postdoctoral fellow, University of Massachusetts Medical School, , Worcester, MA

Visiting Researcher/Scholar, University of Texas at Austin, , Austin, TX


Sensory ecology, Animal movement, Migration, Dispersal, Taxis behavior, Animal architecture, Insects