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Rebecca Smyth

2001- 2002 CEIRP Fellow

Research Interest: Insect-Plant Interaction

Department: Entomology

I am an entomologist studying insect-plant interactions and behavioral ecology in order to address theoretical questions as well as agricultural pest problems. Previously at Cornell, I studied oviposition preference for a cabbage pest moth found in Southeast Asia. And more recently I investigated individual and population behavior of striped cucumber beetles in relation to host plant chemistry. I have also been a teaching assistant for a variety of courses including: insect ecology, ecological genetics, evolution, and spider biology.

With this background I have imagined contributing some fun exercises to classrooms. Insects can be used to demonstrate feeding and egg-laying preferences, pathogen defense, parasitism, biological control, physiology, pheromones, systematics, principles of genetics, basics of natural selection, and more. It's useful that many insects have short life cycles!

Whether or not students continue in science these studies could help them understand everyday problems such as those related to epidemiology, or resistance to pesticides or antibiotics. I am looking forward to working with these or any other topics with collaborating classes and I hope that I can give as much as I'm sure I will learn from both teachers and students there.



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