Kelsey E. Fisher, Ph.D.

Department of Entomology
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
123 Huntington Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Voice: (203) 974-8561 Fax: (203) 974-8502


Insect movement and dispersal ecology, behavior, pollinator conservation, agriculture pest management, spatial modeling and analyses



Ph.D. in Entomology, Iowa State University, 2021

M.S. in Entomology, University of Delaware, 2015

B.S. in Biology, Widener University, 2013


Station Career:

Assistant Agricultural Scientist II: 2023-present 


Current Research:

I am building from my experience with monarchs to address research questions that provide management recommendations for other insects, including bumble bees and spotted lanternfly.


Past Research:

Population dynamics, persistence, and distribution are emergent properties of animal movement behavior and the spatial configuration of habitat. Sustainable animal populations access habitats with sufficient forage resources, a diversity of mating opportunities, and suitable nesting and overwintering locations. Suitable habitat may be isolated and imbedded in urban, agricultural, and forested areas. Individuals that can traverse the complicated matrix often do so at an energetic cost, while those that cannot traverse the matrix suffer from isolation, resource limitation, and genetic inbreeding. Connecting habitat, either directly with corridors or functionally with ‘habitat-stepping stones,’ facilitates the efficient movement of individuals to increase population sizes and gene-flow.


As an insect movement ecologist, my research focuses on is on discerning animal movement patterns and space use in fragmented landscapes to understand movement and dispersal behavior of insect species at various spatial scales. I employed multiple research methods in the field, greenhouse, and lab to address research questions related to management of pest insects and conservation of beneficial species, including radio telemetry, population genetics, stable isotope analysis, geospatial analyses, and spatial modeling. From 2016-2022, I studied monarch butterfly movement in Midwest agroecosystems. Most notably, evidence from this work suggests milkweed and nectar resources be established within 50 m of established habitat to create a functionally connected landscape that facilitates monarch movement. 


  • Fisher, K. E., Snyder, B. R., & Bradbury, S. P. Blooming forbs utilized by breeding-season Danaus plexippus in the USA North-Central region. Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society. (Accepted October 6, 2022)
  • Grant, T, Fisher, K. E., Krishnan, N., Mullins, A., Sappington, T., Hellmich, R., Adelman, J., Coates, J., Hartzler, R., Pleasants, J., & Bradbury, S. P. (2022). Monarch butterfly ecology, behavior, and vulnerabilities in midwestern USA agricultural landscapes: Transdisciplinary research to support conservation decisions. BioScience, 72(12), 1176–1203. DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biac094
  • Fisher, K. E. & Bradbury, S. P. (2022). Plant abandonment behavior and fitness of monarch larvae (Danaus plexippus) is not influenced by an intraspecific competitor. Journal of Insect Conservation. DOI: 10.1007/s10841-022-00408-0
  • Fisher, K. E. & Bradbury, S. P. (2022). Influence of habitat quality and resource density on breeding-season female monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) movement and space use in north-central USA agroecosystem landscapes. Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.14061
  • Fisher, K. E. & Bradbury, S. P. (2021). Estimating perceptual range of female monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) to potted vegetative common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and blooming nectar resources. Environmental Entomology. DOI: 10.1093/ee/nvab058
  • Fisher, K. E., Dixon, P. M., Han, G., Adelman, J. S., & Bradbury, S. P. (2021). Locating large insects using automated VHF radio telemetry with multi-antennae array. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.13529
  • Fisher, K. E., Coates, B. S., & Bradbury, S. P. (2020). Prediction of mitochondrial genome-wide variation using mitochondrion enrichment and next-generation sequencing methods. Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-76088-0
  • Fisher, K. E., Adelman, J., & Bradbury, S. P. (2020). Employing very high frequency (VHF) radio telemetry to recreate monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) flight paths. Journal of Environmental Entomology. DOI: 10.1093/ee/nvaa019
  • Fisher, K. E., Hellmich, R. L., & Bradbury, S. P. (2020). Estimates of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) utilization by monarch larvae (Danaus plexippus) and the significance of larval movement. Journal of Insect Conservation. DOI: 10.1007/s10841-019-00213-2
  • Fisher, K. E., Flexner, J. L. & Mason, C. E. (2020). Host plant preferences of Z-race Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) based on plant tissue consumption rates. Journal of Economic Entomology. DOI: 10.1093/jee/toaa047
  • Fisher, K. E., Mason, C. E., Flexner, J. L., Hough-Goldstein, J., & McDonald, J. H. (2017). Survivorship of Z-pheromone race European corn borer (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) on a range of host plants varying in defensive chemistry. Journal of Economic Entomology. DOI: 10.1093/jee/tox066