The basics of chemical ecology + labs


During this course you will learn about the numerous intriguing roles of bioactive compounds in the interactions among organisms, from bacteria to humans. We will show spectacular examples of how chemicals mediate partner choice, mutualisms, resource location, sexual deceit and many other biological phenomena. As a common theme with the other courses within the module we will largely focus on plant defenses against insects. For these defenses plants rely on a complex arsenal of relatively small molecules, including terpenoids, alkaloids, phenylpropanoids, glucosinolates, and benzoxazinoids. These compounds can be mobilized or activated in response to herbivore attack. Herbivory also induces the emission of complex blends of volatiles that function as indirect defenses by deterring herbivores and attracting of natural enemies such as parasitoids and predators. These volatiles are also implicated in alerting neighboring plants or tissues to incoming attack.

With the use of a model plant (cotton) we will give you hands-on experience with research in this field. We will take you from chemical structure, biosynthesis, toxicology, to the adaptations in insects (perception, detoxification and sequestration) to deal with these compounds. We will further discuss the population level importance of defense chemicals in natural and agricultural ecosystems and will show how the interactions can be studied and how the bioactive signals can be identified.

Deux demi-journées au sein du cours s’attardent sur l’importance et le rôle des odeurs dans la communication humaine. Encore une foi, les spécificités des genres y sont discutés au regard des connaissances actuelles puisées dans la littérature scientifique.








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