Michael J. Greene

Dr. Michael J. Greene photo
Ph.D. • Dept. Chair • Professor • Biology Research Faculty
Department of Integrative Biology

Mailing Address:
Department of Integrative Biology
Campus Box 171
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364

Physical Location:
1150 12th Street
SI 4115
Denver, CO 80204

Office Hours:

By appointment, if necessary (scheduled by email).



Expertise Areas:
Chemical Ecology, Behavioral Ecology

Purdue University, Biochemistry, B.S., 1992
Oregon State University, Zoology, Ph.D., 1998
Oregon State University, Zoology, Post-Doctoral Fellow, 1999
Stanford University, Department of Biological Sciences, Post-Doctoral Fellow, 1999-2003

Dr. Greene takes a multidisciplinary approach towards understanding chemical communication in ants. The bulk of his current research involves the investigation of how ants utilize chemical recognition cues in order to inform behavioral decisions that in the aggregate can change colony behavior. He is particularly interested in cues present in the mixture of surface lipids, including hydrocarbon molecules, which coat the surface of ants. He investigates how such cues can inform task decisions in ants along with nestmate recognition and species recognition decisions. The general goals of his research are three-fold: 1) to understand the mechanisms by which semiochemicals, natural products that act as signals or cues, mediate animal physiology and behavior, 2) to characterize and identify the chemical structures of these semiochemicals along with factors regulating their production, and 3) to characterize the ecological, behavioral and social contexts under which they operate. He has also conducted studies on the chemical ecology of snake reproduction and bat social recognition. Dr. Greene has been funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2007/07/swarms/miller-text

Sturgis, S.J., Greene, M.J. and D.M. Gordon. 2011, Hydrocarbons on Harvester Ant (Pogonomyrmex barbatus) Middens Guide Forgers to the Nest. Journal of Chemical Ecology37:514-524.

Gordon, D.M., Guetz, A., Greene, M.J., and S. Holmes. 2011. Colony variation in the collective regulation of foraging by harvester ants. Behavioral Ecology22(2): 429-435.

Greene, M. J. 2010. Cuticular Hydrocarbon Cues in the Formation and Maintenance of Insect Social Groups.  In: G. Blomquist and A.G. Bagneres (eds.) Insect Hydrocarbons: Biology, Biochemistry and Chemical Ecology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Englert, A. C. and M. J. Greene. 2009. Chemically-Mediated Roostmate Recognition and Roost Selection by Brazilian Free-Tailed Bats (Tadarida brasiliensis). PLoS ONE 4(11): e7781.

Greene, M. J. and D. M. Gordon. 2007. How patrollers set foraging direction in harvester ants. American Naturalist, 179: 943-948.

Greene, M. J. and D. M. Gordon. 2007. Interaction rate informs harvester ant task decisions. Behavioral Ecology, 18: 451-455.

Greene, M. J. and D. M. Gordon. 2007. Structural complexity of chemical recognition cues affects the perception of group membership in the ants Linepithema humile and Aphaenogaster cockerelli. Journal of Experimental Biology, 210: 897-905. 

Volny, V. P., M. J. Greene, and D. M. Gordon.  2006. Brood production and lineage discrimination in the red harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex barbatus). Ecology, 87: 2194-2200.

Frederickson, M. E., M. J. Greene, and D. M. Gordon. 2005.  Ants bedevil devil’s gardens. Nature, 437: 495-496.

Greene, M. J. and R. T. Mason. 2005. The effects of cloacal secretions on brown tree snake behavior.  In: “Chemical Signals in Vertebrates, X.”  R. T. Mason, M. P. LeMaster, and D. Müller-Schwarze, (Eds). Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, pp. 49-55.

Moore, I. T., M. J. Greene*, D. T. Lerner, C. E. Asher, R. W. Krohmer, D. L. Hess, Joan Whittier, and R. T. Mason. 2005. Physiological evidence for reproductive suppression in the introduced population of brown tree snakes (Boiga irregularis) on Guam. Biological Conservation, 121: 91-98. *Note: I. T. Moore and M. J. Greene contributed equally to the manuscript.

Greene, M. J. and D. M. Gordon. 2003. Cuticular hydrocarbons inform task decisions. Nature, 423: 32.

Human Physiology (BIOL 3225)
Mechanisms of Animal Behavior (BIOL 4250/5250)
Principles of Biological Research (BIOL 5705)