I am a community ecologist who uses insect systems to study the factors that promote biodiversity. In recent research, my students and I found that dragonflies perch at different heights, reducing competition for perches and thereby reducing the chances of injury in competitive battles. Perch height correlates with body size; large species are competitively dominant, displacing smaller species from tall perches and relegating them to progressively shorter perches. My students and I are currently studying the effects of diversity on parasitism rates. Preliminary research showed that parasitism rates were lower in more diverse communities, where the abundance of susceptible species was 'diluted' among a wider array of insensitive species. I have over 30 peer-reviewed publications, and I received a Furman Standard award for 2014-17 and will continue my dragonfly research in Costa Rica.


My philosophy is that learning must ultimately be a participatory activity. To learn, we must engage knowledge deeply and truly examine patterns and processes, causes and effects. To that end, I try to provide students with myriad resources so that might find one that complements their learning style. Lectures are important to me - I invest most of my professional time creating coherent, logical, efficient lectures to help students see and understand how biological systems function. I also write study notes for students, study questions, and the answers to questions. I also record my lectures and place them on-line. Biological systems are complicated, and it is easy to get bogged down in the minutia without understanding the big picture. I take a top down approach; I develop an understanding of why a topic or concept is important, and then we examine how it works.

Title Description

Module 4: Sustainability—Product, Service or Business Process Innovation and Green Marketing

The fourth module will introduce the concept of design from nature’s perspective. It will include insights into the utilization of “natural” constructs/systems to design a product, service or business process. Several concepts will be introduced with a primary focus on bio-mimicry and its use in business. This module will also cover the marketing of “green” products, services or business. It will include an overview of marketing for green (and brown), the trends occurring, green washing and how best to position one’s green product, service or business to the entire market. Expert Speaker: Wade Worthen, professor of biology, will address nature in design from a scientific perspective, considering what we can learn from biology and how it can help us think about product, service and process design. Barry Breede, CEO of Sustainable Mangement Systems, will discuss green market trends and practices.

  • Henry and Ellen Townes Research Professor, Furman University, 1994-1996Furman Standard Award, Furman University, 2014-2017
  • Furman Standard Award, Furman University, 2014-2017
  • Worthen, W. B., and C. C. Phillips*. 2014. Are community patterns in flight height driven by antagonistic interactions? International Journal of Odonatology 17: 7-26.;Worthen, W.B., and D. Merriman*.2012. Relationships between carabid beetle communities and forest stand parameters: Taxon congruence or habitat association? Southeastern Naturalist 12: 379-386.
  • Worthen, W. B. 2010. Emergence-site selection by the dragonfly Epitheca spinosa (Hagen). Southeastern Naturalist 9:251-158.
  • Worthen, W. B. 2010. Flying Dragons: A Colorful field experiment in resource partitioning. American Biology Teacher 72:432-435.
  • Worthen, W. B. and C. M. Jones*. 2007. The effects of wind speed, competition, and body size on perch height selection in a guild of Libellulidae species (Odonata). International Journal of Odonatology 257-272.
  • Worthen, W. B., and C. M. Jones*. 2006. Relationships between body size, wing morphology, and perch height selection in a guild of Libellulidae species (Odonata). Intenational Journal of Odonatology 9:235-250.
  • Worthen, W. B., and E. R. Patrick*. 2004. The effect of intraspecific and interspecific interactions on perch-height preferences of three odonate taxa. International Journal of Odonatology 7:529-541.
  • Worthen, W. B., S. Gregory*, J. Felten*, and M. J. Hutton*. 2004. Larval habitat associations of the Common Sanddragon (Progomphus obscurus Rambur) at two spatial scales (Odonata: Gomphidae). International Journal of Odonatology 7:97-109.
  • Worthen, W. B. 2003. Nested subset structure of larval odonate assemblages in the Enoree River (USA). International Journal of Odonatology 6:79-90.
  • Worthen, W. B., and D. C. Haney. 2002. Desiccation tolerance of three mycophagous Drosophila species. American Midland Naturalist 147:387-392.
  • Worthen, W. B. 2002. Community ecology of larval odonates in the Enoree River basin of South Carolina. Southeastern Naturalist 1:205-216.
  • Worthen, W. B., T. E. Blue*, D. C. Haney, and C. B. Andersen. 2001. Abundance of Boyeria vinosa larva in the Enoree River basin, USA: chemical, physical, and biological correlates. International Journal of Odonatology 4:231-241.
  • Worthen, W. B., C. C. Cuddy*, D. C. Haney, V. L. Turgeon, and C. B. Andersen. 2001. The effect of an industrial spill on the macrofauna of a South Carolina stream: physiological to community-level responses. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 3:467-477.
  • Andersen, C. B., W. B. Worthen, and B. Polkinghorn. 2001. Humanism in the environmental sciences: a reevaluation. Journal of College Science Teaching 31:202-206.
* = student coauthors
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