What makes insects the most successful creatures on Earth? Insects are the most numerous and diverse forms of multicellular organisms on Earth; many have estimated that over 90% of the animal life forms on Earth are insects. There are over 1.3 million species identified, and possibly more than ten times as many yet to be determined. We will examine the morphology, anatomy, taxonomy, physiology, and ecological functions that enable insects to be so successful on almost every continent of our planet. We will use this knowledge to understand and examine successful, biologically-based strategies for managing insect populations.
In this upper-division program, the focus will be on general insect biology, the relationships with plants and other animals, and key characteristics in their identification. Using a combination of remote lectures, in-person laboratory exercises, field workshops, and individual projects, we will divide our time studying the orders and essential families of insects and related arthropods. All students will learn how to collect, mount, and display insects and will be required to make an insect collection or an alternative. We will transition to general physiology, neurobiology and take a deep dive into hormonal and neural-hormonal regulation of insect development.
With this knowledge, we will explore the most recent literature on the physical, chemical, and ecological relationships between insect herbivores and plant hosts, answering questions such as: How do plants recognize and respond to insect herbivores? How do insects react to the defensive strategies presented by their host plants? We will explore the multi-tropic relationship between herbivores, host plants, predators, and parasitoids. Finally, we will discuss the foundational underpinnings of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), discussing how and why it works and how to implement it. We will study the various options and strategies utilized in IPM, including the techniques and science behind monitoring for pests. Additionally, we will discuss strategies to integrate population management tools against targeted pests. We will discuss both proactive strategies, i.e., building hedgerows and farmscaping, and reactive strategies, i.e., applications of biological control agents and biopesticides.
8 credits in general biology, 8 credits in general chemistry, and introductory ecology.
entomology; ecology; physiology; pest management; biological research
$125 for required specimen collection supplies and lab fee
Upper division science credits may be awarded in Insect physiology, entomology, and population ecology.