This course will introduce you to the most abundant, diverse (and fascinating) organisms in the animal kingdom: the Insects. However, insects are so incredibly diverse that trying to learn them all is impossible (and not useful for most undergraduates). Instead, we will use their diversity to illustrate important concepts in biology.. Insects provide highly tractable organisms with which to investigate biological questions because they are ubiquitous, small, and highly diverse. 

We will explore how insects work, how they have exploited more niches than any other macro-organism, and how insect diversity reveals adaptive solutions to challenges posed by abiotic and biotic environments. There will be a strong emphasis on ecology and evolution, but we will also discuss topics such as insect physiology, development, behavior, and the economic and health significance of insects to humans.


Course philosophy

With a continually increasing rate of new information and discoveries in the field of biology, no single person can master all of the factual and theoretical information currently available.. Both scientists and medical professionals must instead synthesize and organize vast quantities of information in ways that help them solve problems. This course focuses on developing skills to help you process and integrate information. The emphasis is on critical thinking and understanding the process of scientific inquiry. Yes, you will learn some new vocabulary, anatomy, and other ‘facts’ along the way, but the intention is to improve your ability to synthesize new information during the process of problem-solving, rather than engaging in rote memorization (an outdated and useless activity, in my opinion).


Grading

Grading Bios 326 (lecture)

Activity Point Value
Insect Essay
50
Mock Journal Article Review
50
Family Report
                 Bibliography
25
                 Written
75
                 Peer Review
25
                 Presentation
75
Exam I
100
Exam II
150
Class participation
150
Total
850
 
  Extra credit –  “Bug”-Break
20

Grading Bios 330 (lab)

Activity Point Value
Insect Collection
100
Insect Collection Report
50
Insect Collection Exhibition
50
Total
200