This course explores insect diversity, evolution, and behavior. Insects are pollinators, undertakers, and parasites. They are master architects, and the inventors of flight and agriculture. Their societies can tower over elephants or fit in the palm of your hand. This course emphasizes comparative natural history and experimentation as the foundation of innovations in entomology. Students will develop a solid understanding of the principles of insect biology that can be applied to medical, forensic, veterinary, agricultural, conservation and academic fields.
Co-req: BIOL.4/5550L Entomology Laboratory
Offered Fall Semester
ENTOMOLOGY LABORATORY (1-credit)
This laboratory focuses on insect classification, development and behavior. Students will travel to local field sites to study and collect insects. Each student will curate a professional insect collection and develop a working knowledge of insect taxonomy through dissection and comparison of preserved specimens, including economically and medically important insects. Students will also rear a variety of social and solitary insects under experimental conditions and report their results. Labs on behavior focus on insect communication, parental care, eusociality, and orientation.
Co-req: BIOL.4/5550 Entomology
Offered Fall Semester
BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY (3-credits)
Animals learn songs, practice agriculture, and craft tools. They build elaborate structures without a blueprint and migrate across the globe without a map. This course explores the mechanistic and evolutionary causes of animal behavior, A combination of lectures, discussions, and animal demos will introduce students to major themes in the field, while emphasizing experiments and ecological context as fundamental to the study of behavior. Students will discuss historic debates and emerging research on the evolution of exaggerated sexual ornaments and defensive structures, sensory bias, heritability of behavior, reciprocity & kinship, and the emergence of animal societies. By the end of the course, students will be able to interpret the behaviors of animals in an evolutionary framework. Students from other departments, including Psychology, and Environmental Science can join this course with instructor permission.
Offered Spring Semester
This course instructs students in developing effective writing and speaking skills required for preparation of scientific manuscripts and presentations, and communicating in the scientific world. Students will be required to prepare and present oral presentations and to submit written reports.
Offered Fall or Spring Semesters