Integrative Biology

Timothy Schowalter  |  2/13/2009 12:26:49 AM

Integrative Biology encompasses the relatively basic areas of insect systematics, physiology, behavior, ecology and conservation biology. Advances in understanding in these fundamental sub-disciplines support applications in the two program areas above. Major efforts under this program area include molecular (as well as morphological) systematics, systematic revision of target groups, biodiversity assessment (e.g., participation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory) and identification of indicator taxa, evaluation of insect responses to environmental changes (such as hurricanes and other natural and anthropogenic disturbances), insect effects on conditions of natural and managed ecosystems, and contributions to conservation programs. The Louisiana State Arthropod Museum (LSAM) currently houses nearly one million specimens, representing a major repository for Louisiana species but also representing substantial collections from Central and South America and Asia, as well as other parts of North America. LSAM represents a major institutional asset that documents the relative abundances of native species and the arrival of new species. LSAM collections are being integrated into a campus-wide database system to improve access and retrieval of specimens. Long-term studies are being conducted on arthropod responses to environmental changes in longleaf pine savannas and lowland hardwood forests in Louisiana and in tropical rainforest in Puerto Rico. We also have provided a complete faunistic survey of wildlife carcasses (reptiles and mammals) in south Louisiana to aid law enforcement in poaching cases. Major National Science Foundation funding has supported research in these areas. Ten faculty (all Graduate Faculty members) contribute to this program area.

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