Thursday, March 08, 2007

New Courses this Summer!

This summer Stone Laboratory will offer new opportunities for undergraduates and graduates in biological sciences, education, and natural resources. Spider Biology, Aquatic Entomology, and an Entomology REU will add to the already diverse offerings of more than 30 different science courses available on Gibraltar Island.

EEOB 694: Spider Biology
The shores of Lake Erie are famous for both the abundance and the variety of spiders that live there. Dr. Richard Bradley, Associate Professor of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at Ohio State’s Marion Campus, will cover all you could ever want to know about spiders during the week of July 8–14.

For the first time at Stone Lab, students will be introduced to the diversity of spiders, along with their behavior and ecology. They will learn how to identify and become familiar with the most common spider families in Ohio.

Other topics will include spider anatomy, classification, and web building techniques. Spiders are among the most important predators in natural ecosystems and are effective at controlling pest insect populations. “The behavior of spiders is surprisingly complex and fascinating,” notes Bradley. “I am excited to offer a course dedicated solely to them.”

ENT 612: Aquatic Entomology
Northwest Ohio is abundant with aquatic habitats ranging from wetlands and rivers to lakes. Dr. Ferenc de Szalay, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Kent State University, and his students will explore aquatic ecosystems and the insects that inhabit them.

Aquatic Entomology, offered from July 19–August 18, will teach students about aquatic insect anatomy and ecology as well as field sampling and identification techniques. The course will combine lectures on insect biology with field trips to sample habitats, using Ekman dredges, core samples, activity traps, and sweep nets.

“Stone Lab is the perfect site to teach Aquatic Entomology,” says de Szalay. “Students will see aquatic insects in a wide range of freshwater habitats, from coastal and inland wetlands to rivers.” Understanding aquatic insects has many practical applications. For example, they are key components of food webs, and they can be important indicators of water quality.

Entomology REU Scholarship Program
Stone Lab’s REU Scholarship Program offers students a real-world research experience in data collection and analysis, scientific reading and writing, and oral presentation skills while providing a full scholarship for tuition, room and board, and lab fees.

Overseen by Dr. Doug Kane, Visiting Assistant Professor Biology/Toxicology at Ashland University, the new entomology REU will allow students to investigate the devastating effects of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a non-native beetle that entered the United States in the summer of 2002.

“During visits to several Lake Erie islands, students will determine forest composition by identifying trees and measuring their densities and sizes,” states Kane. “They will look for new evidence of EAB activity and examine the ecological effects of this beetle.” The data gathered can help homeowners, arborists and landscapers make informed decisions about treating trees for this borer.

For more information on these and other opportunities offered at Stone Laboratory, visit our website.

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