Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Professor and Interim Chair of Biological Sciences

Curator of STAR Herbarium


  • PhD - 2009 - Biology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
  • MS - 2004 - Biology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 
  • BS - 2001 - Biology, Arkansas Tech University, Russellville, AR

Research Interests

Evolutionary Ecology and Plant Taxonomy

  • Coevolution of Plant-Insect Interactions: Dr. Marsico uses a study system of prickly pear cacti (Opuntia species) and cactus-feeding moths (Cactoblastis cactorum and Melitara prodenialis) to investigate the relationship of plants and their insect herbivores in differentially coevolved species combinations. This research combines field observations, laboratory experiments, and molecular techniques to investigate patterns and mechanisms involved in herbivore recognition and defense by the plant and counter-defense by the insect.
  • Flora of Arkansas: The Arkansas Vascular Flora Project began in 1999 with the goal "to publish a definitive treatment for the flora of Arkansas--The Manual of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas." Results from the project to date include a Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas (2006) and an Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas (2009). Taxonomic treatments for many groups are still needed for the publication of the Manual. Students interested in the identification, description, distribution, and conservation of Arkansas's plant species will have an opportunity to participate in this statewide effort.


  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Botanical Society of America
  • Ecological Society of America
  • Entomological Society of America
  • International Biogeography Society
  • International Oak Society
  • Mid-South Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Society
  • Society of Herbarium Curators
  • Publication Editorial Board - Ecology and Evolution (April 2011-March 2014)


Dr. Marsico is a Florida Native who graduated from Mountain Home High School in Mountain Home, Arkansas.  He completed his undergraduate degree at Arkansas Tech University, where he met his wife, Katie.  After obtaining graduate degrees at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and University of Notre Dame, Dr. Marsico and his family moved to Starkville, Mississippi where Dr. Marsico researched as a Postdoctoral Associate for 16 months.  The Marsico family returned to Arkansas in December of 2009, when they moved to Jonesboro for Dr. Marsico to join the faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences at ASU.  Dr. Marsico has two children, Hannah and Janson.  Dr. Marsico is a staunch believer in the transformative power of higher education.  He loves teaching students at A-State and inspiring them to reach their great potential.  Dr. Marsico also believes in the power of scientific discovery, and he has contributed to increased understanding through research publications in journals such as Biological Invasions, Evolutionary Applications, Journal of Biogeography, Oikos, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

Travis Marsico

Contact Information

P: 870-972-3082
F: 870-972-2638




Building: Lab Science East
Room: 201A

Office Hours

  • Biology of Plants
  • Biology of Plants Laboratory
  • Making Connections Biology
  • Dendrology
  • Global Change Biology
  • Mechanisms of Speciation