This class will focus on insect-plant interactions in agroecosystems, and how the unique man-made agricultural community effects insect populations leading to pest outbreaks. Key concepts in pest prediction and management will be discussed from an ecological perspective.
At the end of this course, students will understand what biotic and abiotic factors contribute to pest outbreaks, why some modern pest management techniques have failed over time, and the trade-offs associated with the use of different pest control methods. Our approach will allow students to apply their knowledge to a variety of pest management situations. Additionally, students will learn about current research goals in agroecology and how these goals are being addressed by scientists engaged in agricultural research.
The focus of this course will be on understanding how the ecologies of agricultural systems differ from natural ecosystems, and how these difference affect the population dynamics of insect pests and natural enemies. Each section of the course is centered around a basic ecological, biological or engineering theme such as host shift, physiological time, or sampling techniques. Different management techniques will be discussed, as well as the ecological basis behind why these techniques work and why they sometimes fail. The role of insects in spreading economically important plant diseases will also be discussed. Recent advances in research will also be addressed throughout the course and reinforced with periodic readings of primary literature.
Provided to students through ILIAS
Selected required readings (peer reviewed literature, selected book chapters).