New Course: Insect Chemical Ecology
This field course will give an introduction to tropical entomology — including insect biology, behavior, and ecology — with a special focus on plant-insect interactions. There will be structured, hands-on activities that explore a variety of field sampling methods as we investigate rainforest vertical stratigraphy, mimicry and camouflage, chemical signaling, and much more.
In addition, there will be opportunity for participants to design short research projects as groups or individually. This will allow them to practice the scientific method while investigating plant defenses, herbivore adaptations, and how those mechanisms modify multitrophic interactions.
Course topics will include:
- Entomological natural history and evolution
- Entomological identification and taxonomy
- Insect-plant interactions and chemical signaling
- Field sampling methods
- Mimicry and camouflage
- Experimental design
- Interpreting and presenting scientific data
Since all of our courses aim to provide general skills applicable to any discipline, we will also focus on:
- Forest navigation and orienteering
- Maintenance of a field notebook
- Tree climbing with mechanical ascenders
- Field ethics and safety.
Other activities during this course will include:
- Canoeing in a nearby oxbow lake looking for giant river otters, hoatzins, and other wildlife
- Paddling through a palm swamps in search of dwarf caiman, anaconda, and more
- Climbing a 60-meter observation tower overlooking the rainforest canopy
This course is ideal for biology students seeking specialty training and field experience, those interested in tropical ecology and conservation, and/or individuals from any background who want to deepen their knowledge and appreciation of insects.
Course Dates: July 26th – August 13th, 2017
Registration: Course size is limited, spots are filled on a rolling basis until June 12th, 2017
Course Fee: $2500 (includes meals, lodging, and transportation from Puerto Maldonado to the field site and back)