We study mechanisms of insect/spider/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. We also develop acquired knowledge for sophisticated control of pest insects or animals.
Most of our current study objects (hobo spiders; house flies; Drosophila fruit flies; mosquitoes; twig and tree borer moths; lymantriid moths; earwigs; Cimex, Boisea, and Leptoglossus bugs; cecidomyiid midges; cockroaches; braconid wasps; silverfish and firebrats; etc.) 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.
Findings of our research can be developed for earth-friendly control of insects 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 Scotts Canada Ltd. as the current main sponsor. 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.
We thank Adam Blake & Stephen DeMuth for web design, Greg Elhers for photos of lab facilities and graduate students for banner photos.
In the News
Elana Varner is competing in the Canadian 3-minute thesis (#3MT) finals.
Vote for her here!
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- Hannah Watkins and Elana Varner will represent BISC and the Faculty of Science in the SFU wide 3 minute Thesis Competition
- Hannah Watkins and Elana Varner shine again at the SFU-wide 3-Minute Thesis Competition
- Elana Varner scores a remarkable 3rd place finish in Western Regional 3MT competition at UNBC
Debunking Spider Misconceptions
with Andreas Fischer
as featured in an video from Breakfast Television
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