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Insect biology course fosters student interest in environment

September 16, 2015
KOKOMO, Ind. — The news buzzing around campus is that insects aren’t just pests.

Joey Eakright learned this during a summer course at Indiana University Kokomo.

“I have developed a greater understanding and admiration for all of the unique species of insects since taking this course,” said the Wabash resident. “Actually, I am now capable of acknowledging all the different aspects in biology.”

This summer a course focusing on the biology of insects was offered. The students were taught the different ways insects impact our environment in the lecture portion of the class. The laboratory experience provided students with a chance to collect insects and showcase them with their scientific name all while learning more about their anatomy and purpose. The lessons that were taught, however, go beyond the lecture hall and the lab.

“We will make an impact on one another as we learn more about insects, because they are a part of our environment,” said HT Ellis Marschand, adjunct instructor.

“Getting to collect the insects and learn about them teaches you how to appreciate life,” said Jessica Gordon, Tipton. “This experience has encouraged me to actively engage in my surroundings each day.”

There are different ways students can engage in the world around them but the first step is to be up to date on the current environmental issues.

One of the pressing concerns right now is the decline in bee population and how this impacts the food supply since bees pollinate a third of the food we eat. There are current beekeepers that are working to increase the bee population by using specific breeding techniques. This current crisis is not just happening in the United States but all over the world.

“In areas in which there is a large shortage of bees, such as in China, people have to pollinate flowers of trees by hand in order to get them to produce fruit,” said Marschand.

There are fun topics that the class discussed too. For example, the existence of flea circuses, cicada songs and how they can be as loud as a jet engine, and how forensic teams can determine time of death based on what insects are present.

“There are so many cool areas that we have gotten to discuss in this course,” he said.

Story written by Kambren Stanley. Kambren is a student writer in the Office of Media & Marketing.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 09/16/2015