ENT/BOT/ZOOL 473: Plant-Insect Interactions
This course describes the multiple ways in which arthropods exploit plants, and how these interactions can affect plant growth, survival, and competition. Topics include plant traits that deter or augment insect behavior and development, insect behavioral and physiological counter adaptations, and environmental mediation of these interactions. Consequences of plant – herbivore interactions to insect population dynamics, plant succession & community ecology, and co-evolution are discussed. Implications of basic plant – insect interaction theory to natural resource management, environmental quality, and sustainable development are considered.
This course describes the many ways in which insects exploit plants, and how these interactions can benefit or adversely affect plant growth, survival, and competition. Topics include plant traits that deter or augment insect behavior and development, insect behavioral and physiological counter adaptations, and environmental mediation of these interactions. Consequences of these interactions to insect population dynamics, plant succession and community ecology, and co- evolution are discussed. We also consider the implications of basic plant-insect interaction theory to natural resource management, environmental quality, and sustainable development.
We will meet 3 times per week, MWF 1:20 in Rm 104 Russell Labs. Most sessions will be lectures, but there will also be some discussion sessions, which will be in A121 Russell Labs.
Please feel free to email me at any time. I prefer to respond by setting up a personal appointment rather than engaging in lengthy email discussions. I get a much better feel for how well students are grasping the material when I visit with them in person.
Reading the literature on plant – insect interactions constitutes a major portion of this course. How much you learn will depend largely on how well you prepare for lectures and discussions by doing the background readings. Please note that the syllabus includes both chapters from our text (Schoonhoven et al.) and peer-reviewed papers listed beneath the syllabus. All of these papers are on-line through Web of Knowledge.
Information from the readings will be included on exams from a conceptual but not detailed basis. For example, I might ask how two major scientists differ in their views of coevolution, and the bases for their arguments, but not minor pieces of data. So read these articles to get the major points the various authors are making,
Discussions are intended to help you understand some of the more controversial, conceptual, and timely topics in plant-insect interactions. They are an integral part of the course.
Each Discussion will be led by a group of students, but everyone is expected to participate. There is no Instructor’s role – I am simply a participant. Discussion leaders should email one paper to the class, one week before their assigned session. They should give a 15-minute presentation that sets the stage for discussion. Use this presentation to a) Give the background information needed for a substantive discussion; b) Identify what you perceive as the major knowledge gaps; c) pose key questions for the group. You may structure your topic as broadly or focused as you wish, and you may divide the roles of the discussion team any way you wish.
Please sign up for your topic no later than Feb. 1.
Each team should write a brief overview of their discussion area. This should be written along the lines of a “Trends in Ecology & Evolution” article. That is, describe the issue, provide the pertinent peer-reviewed references, identify the key knowledge gaps, and generate a synthesis. These should be no more than 6 single-spaced pages, plus 400-word Abstract and 2 pgs of references. You may include original figures within the text. You may cite web pages that provide pertinent data, but do not cite general web pages.
|Discussion & Report||25%|
Plant – Insect Interactions: Ent / Bot / Zool 473: Winter/Spring 2016
An Overview of Plant – Insect Interactions
|Jan 20||Course objectives & mechanics; Overarching themes|
|Jan 22||Interspecific interactions||1|
|Jan 25||Diversity of interactions among plants and insects|
|Jan 27||Diversity of interactions, Direct and Indirect effects on plants
Biology, diversity and population dynamics of insects
|Jan 29||Biology, diversity and population dynamics of insects|
|Feb 1||Biology, diversity and population dynamics of insects
Discussion Topic Choices Due
Plant Traits that Influence Utilization By Insects
|Feb 3||Nutritional ecology of plant-feeding insects|
|Feb 5||Plant morphological defenses; Plant escape in space & time||3, 4, 5|
|Feb 8||Plant chemical defenses: N-containing compounds||6|
|Feb 10||Plant chemical defenses: Phenolics|
|Feb 12||Plant chemical defenses: Terpenoids|
|Feb 15||Theories of plant defense||7, 8, 9|
|Feb 17||Induced chemical defenses: Direct effects on herbivores||10, 11|
|Feb 19||Discussion: Can we construct a unifying theory of plant defense?|
|Feb 22||EXAM #1|
Insect Traits that Facilitate Utilization Of Plants
|Feb 24||Host selection behavior & Host specialization||12, 13|
|Feb 26||Behavioral & Ecological Adaptations for countering defenses||14, 15|
|Feb. 29||Morphological & Physiological Adaptations|
|March 2||Physiological Adaptations to Allelochemicals|
|March 4||Utilizing symbionts to exploit plants||16, 17|
|March 7||Discussion: How can we best use recent insights into symbioses to improve our understanding and utilization of plant-insect interactions?|
Tritrophic Interactions in Plant Defense
|March 9||Interactions with predators and parasites, pathogens||18,19, 20, 21|
|March 11||Interactions with pathogens, other herbivores||22, 23, 24|
|March 14||Discussion: How should we interpret induced plant defenses?|
|March 16||Interactions with plant symbionts: Endophytes and Mycorrhizae||25, 26|
|March 18||No class|
|March 28||EXAM #2|
Plant – Insect Interactions in Plant Community Ecology and Evolution
|March 30||Role of insect herbivores in Community Ecology, Succession, Disturbance||27|
|Apr 1||Role of insect herbivores in Community Ecology, Succession, Disturbance||28|
|Apr 4||Discussion: How can we best incorporate our knowledge of plant-insect interactions into broader theories of disturbance and ecosystem processes?|
|Apr 6||Insectivorous plants||30|
|Apr 8||Coevolution||31, 32, 33|
|Apr 11||Pollination ecology on landscapes: Claudio Gratton||29|
|Apr 13||Pollination ecology: Johanne Brunet|
|Apr 15||Discussion: How do selective pressures by insects drive patterns and processes of plant evolution?|
Implications of Plant – Insect Interactions to Natural Resource Management
|Apr 18||Application of plant – insect interactions to human welfare, environmental challenges, and natural resource management||34, 35|
|Apr 20||Responses to elevated temperature||36, 37|
|Apr 22||Response to elevated CO2: Rick Lindroth||38|
|Apr 25||Discussion: How will global climate change affect herbivory?|
|Apr 27||Invasive species||39|
|Apr 29||Discussion: How will global climate change affect insect biodiversity?|
|May 2||Discussion: Should genetic engineering be deployed in native ecosystems threatened by biological invasions?|
|May 4||Complex societal issues arising from plant- insect interactions|
|May 6||EXAM #3|
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