I teach a range of Entomology courses at Cornell.
Entom 2010 / 2011
Alien Empire: Bizarre Biology of Bugs
Semester: even springs (co-taught with Marina Caillaud and John Sanderson)
Insects are the most abundant and diverse animals on earth. This course explores the bizarre biology of insects and their interaction with humans. We will examine both the detrimental roles insects play (e.g., pests and vectors of disease) as well as their beneficial roles (e.g., pollination, edible insects, insect products such as waxes, dyes, and silk). Students taking the course for 2 credits (Entom 2010) will attend lectures on Monday and Wednesday. Students taking the course for 3 credits (Entom 2011) will meet once per week (on Friday) for smallgroup sections based on readings from the popular literature as well as short documentary films on insect biology. Additional interactive activities include a visit to the Museum of the Earth as well as a laboratory on insect diversity.
Entom 3310 / 3311
Insect Phylogeny and Evolution
Semester: odd falls
This course will provide a broad overview of insect diversity, morphology, phylogeny, evolution, and fossil history. Evolution of the insects will be discussed in light of real data sets based on morphology and/or DNA sequence data. Basic principles of phylogeny reconstruction using both morphological and DNA sequence data will be presented using published data sets. Analytical methods such as parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian methods will be discussed and compared. We will also cover how phylogenies are used to analyze evolutionary patterns, such as historical biogeography, coevolution, and host/parasite relationships.
Entom 3340 / 3341 / 3342
Tropical Field Entomology
Semester: January intersession
This course provides students hands-on exposure to insect biodiversity, ecology, and behavior in a neotropical rainforest environment. Students will gain experience in insect sampling and survey methods, insect identification to the family level, insect natural history, experimental design and data collection in a field setting, basic statistics, interpretation and evaluation of scientific literature, and scientific writing. Course takes place over a two-week period in January and is held at the La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica.
Arthropod Diversity in the Desert Southwest
Semester: Spring semester (co-taught with Patrick O’Grady and Chelsea Specht)
The Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts host an impressive array of arthropod diversity. This course will explore the geology, ecology, diversity, biogeography, and coevolution of flora and fauna at the interface of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts. In the early part of the semester, we will read the primary literature on desert ecology, with a focus on arthropods. During Spring break we will take a field trip to the Southwestern Research Station in Portal, AZ, a biodiversity hotspot for insects and arachnids. Students will gain expertise in insect sampling and identification. A course fee of approximately $1000/student applies.