Chemical Ecology

BIOEE 3690/BIONB 3690/ENTOM 3690

Why are chilies so spicy? This course examines the chemical basis of interactions between species and is intended for students with a basic knowledge of chemistry and biology. The course focuses on the ecology and chemistry of plants, animals, and microbes, and stresses chemical signals used in diverse ecosystems, using Darwinian natural selection as a framework. Topics include plant defenses, microbial warfare, communication in marine organisms, and human pheromones.


Outcome 1: Students will be able to categorize ecological interactions and potential mechanisms by which they are mediated.

Outcome 2: Students will be able to discuss these mechanisms in light of evolutionary theory and draw conclusions about potential agricultural applications.

Outcome 3: Students will be familiar with the general structures of organic molecules and the relationship between structure and function.

Outcome 4: Students will be familiar with a number of analytical, behavioral, and experimental techniques used to analyze chemical compounds that mediate ecological interactions.

Outcome 5: Students will be able to read and synthesize findings from original scientific research in chemical ecology by studying and discussing the primary literature. 

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