Topics in Natural Resources
Flowers are strikingly beautiful as their main purpose is to attract an animal that will transfer pollen and produce seeds. In fact, nearly 300,000 species of plants rely on these animal pollinators. Pollinators include a diverse suite of organisms including insects, mammals, birds, and even lizards. One of the most important groups of pollinators, the bees, contain over 20,000 species. Through a mix of readings, active learning activities and lectures, this course will allow students to learn about the biology, conservation, and importance of pollinators. The first portion of the class will focus on the fascinating biology of pollination and pollinators, including mutualisms, trickery and other complex species interactions. Students will explore the evolutionary biology of plant-pollinator interactions and how the millions of years of interactions between plants and pollinators have led to diverse array of colors, smells and floral forms we see today. The second section of the course will explore actions of pollinators in terms of honey production, crop pollination, economics and cultural appreciation. Students will explore how pollinators contribute to human society and how the actions of humans impact pollinator populations. Both sections will be viewed through a lens of pollinator conservation and environmental policy. Here students will be expected to ability to locate and evaluate scientific information and think critically how science does and does not affect environmental policy.
(course taught by entomology faculty)