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We study mechanisms of insect/spider/tick/animal communication and resource-foraging. We elucidate semiochemical, sonic, visual, infrared and bacterial communication signals and foraging cues, and investigate how these signals or cues may have evolved in response to community composition, scarceness of resources, and physical parameters of the habitat.
Most of our current study objects (black widow spiders; false black widow spider; stable flies; horn flies; blow flies; Culex and Aedes mosquitoes; carpenter ants; European fire ants; pavement ants; thatching ants; ticks; cabbage butterflies; bed bugs; cockroaches; click beetles; aphids; root aphids; brown rats; deer mice; house mice) have major economic or ecological implications. We work on them under the premise that their biology and communication ecology is as intriguing as that of any other insect.
We also develop findings of our research for sophisticated and earth-friendly control of pest insects and animals in urban, agricultural, and forest settings. This is why we attract funding from Industrial Sponsors. In June 2004, our lab has obtained an NSERC-Industrial Research Chair (IRC) in Multimodal Animal Communication Ecology, with BASF Canada Inc. and Scotts Canada Ltd. as the current sponsors. This NSERC-IRC is a triple-win because: (1) it provides a perfect training and research environment for many graduate and undergraduate students, and pushes the frontiers of science; (2) it provides society with earth-friendly solutions for pest problems; and (3) it generates new products and technologies for the industrial sponsors.