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Bennett Lecture: Does Specialization in Insect-Plant Interactions Drive Global Biodiversity?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011
12:00 AM
Gates Lecture Hall, U-M Biological Station on Douglas Lake, 9133 Biological Drive (off Riggsville Rd.), Pellston.

This is part of our 2011 Summer Lecture Series. It is free and open to the public.

Plants and insects represent a major portion of the world’s biodiversity. Evolutionary interactions of plants with insect pollinators and herbivores are believed to have been major factors driving this diversification. Highly specialized relationships between plants and insects (including chemical defenses in plants and insect counter-adaptations as well as those for pollination) have been assumed to facilitate speciation, especially in lower tropical latitudes. However, specialization may not be an evolutionary dead-end. Recent evidence suggests that generalized herbivores may be derived from highly specialized ones. J. Mark Scriber is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University and a Research Associate at the McGuire Center for Butterflies & Biodiversity at the University of Florida. His research deals with the ecology and evolution of butterflies.