Ants, Bees, and Thoughts

Today Jan 18th –

     We all had the pleasure of meeting some Hymenopterists today and heard about how they can be wonderful study organisms for asking questions. I had a conversation with Bill Wcislo about my project and he mentioned something I had not thought about: inter- and intra- specific variation. In my project I want to look at tortoise beetles and their chemical defenses, but how do those defenses vary within a species population? And furthermore, how do those defenses vary between distant species population and how do they differ between different species? This is a great question for me since I can sample tortoise beetles here in the neotropics and back in Illinois to get an even broader picture of tortoise beetle defence and its variation. As to what it will all mean, I am not sure, but it is starting to look like an interesting and progressively long term project.

     To conclude I will mention something Carlos talked about and that is questions: great science means fun questions. Or maybe fun science means great questions? Either way, it is fun and science is based on questions. Questions in turn are not biased towards any animal, plant, or fungi, but rather are biased towards appropriate model organisms to answer them. I have an interest in ecological biochemistry, chemistry, insect physiology, and plant-insect interactions; but what are my questions? And are my questions biased toward my interests? Is it possible that another question could lead me to another interest? I have not thought about this much but I thought it was important to put in this blog post. I will be thinking of questions and I will expand of these thoughts hopefully in another post.

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