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Current Courses

Seminar in Insect Biogeography, Fall 2018

Instructor: Keith Willmott

1 credit, ENY 6934 (section 255B). Thursday, period 7 (1:55 PM – 2:45 PM), Steinmetz EYN 2218 (Entomology and Nematology Building).

Course description
This course is a seminar course designed to meet Department of Entomology & Nematology core course requirements. Seminar courses give students practice in preparing and presenting a 30-40 minute seminar on a topic that interests them. Master’s students are required to take one credit of seminar and PhD students take two credits. This seminar focuses on insect biogeography. Insects dominate biological diversity, yet large-scale patterns in their distribution, diversity and abundance, and the processes responsible for such patterns, remain poorly understood. Biogeography is the study of such patterns and processes and is an exciting and rapidly evolving field, integrating systematics, ecology and evolution with geography, geology and climatology. This seminar course will provide an overview of major themes in biogeography, including historical biogeography and evolution, latitudinal and elevational gradients in species richness, patterns of abundance and range-size (macroecology), island biogeography and species-area relationships, and applications of biogeography to conservation. Classes will consist of a combination of lectures, discussions of primary scientific literature and student seminars, during which we will explore how studies of insects have improved or could inform our understanding of biogeography in general. Download syllabus

Biogeography is a broad field and a multi-disciplinary approach is essential. There are thus no prerequisites other than a keen interest in and at least some background knowledge of ecology, evolution and biodiversity, and willingness to participate actively in classes.

Topics include:

1. History of biogeography and macroecology research
2. Areas of endemism
3. Area relationships
4. Molecular clocks
5. Spatial autocorrelation and analyses
6. Null models in species richness
7. Spatial patterns in species richness
8. Abundance and range size
9. Island biogeography
10. Area and species diversity
11. Predicting extinction and area prioritization for conservation
12. Climate change and conservation

Previous Courses

Research in Insect Biodiversity

(co-taught with Akito Kawahara)

Fall 2015, 1-2 credits, ENY 4905/BSC 2930

Insects and Plants

(co-taught with Andrei Sourakov and Thomas Emmel)

Fall 2017, 1 credit, IDH3931/ENY4905
Fall 2015, 1 credit, IDH3931/ENY4905
Spring 2015, 1 credit, IDH3931/ENY4905

Evolutionary Biogeography

(co-taught with Nico Cellinese)

Spring 2014, 3 credits, PCB6675C, BOT6935, ZOO6927
Spring 2011, 3 credits, BOT 6935/6554.

Biology of Lepidoptera

(co-taught with Andrei Sourakov)

Spring 2012, 1 credit, ENY 4905/6934.
Spring 2010, 1 credit, ENY 4905/6934.


Spring 2008, 1 credit, ZOO 4926/6927.

Insect Biogeography

Spring 2013, 1 credit, ENY 4905/6934.
Spring 2009, 1 credit, ENY 4905/6934.
Spring 2007, 2 credits, ENY 4905/6934.