To gain expertise in a field is to understand and use underlying disciplinary principles. Too often students rely on rote memorization to solve problems rather than apply appropriate principles of physics that governs biological phenomena, that is, use principle-based reasoning. Students who rely on memorization can list the steps of generating an action potential or stomatal opening but cannot reason to a correct prediction when changes are introduced in the system, e.g. when a toxin is applied.
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Organisms respond to climate change via tracking through space or time, phenotypic plasticity, or evolution. A key question is whether plasticity facilitates evolution by enabling persistence or hinders evolution by buffering selection. I will present a phenotype-based forecasting framework for montane butterflies, which finds that plasticity facilitates evolution by reducing fluctuations in selection, particularly in more seasonal environments. Repeating historic lab and field studies and examining museum specimens reveals both the viability of evolutionary responses and t
Organismal sensory systems mediate a variety of critical ecological processes, including reproduction, foraging, and disease development. Behavior ultimately controls many of these interactions, but rarely do ecological studies consider the behavioral and neural mechanisms underlying those interactions. Conversely, evolution has sculpted sensory systems based on their ecological environment, but many neurobiological studies often lack a natural history framework. Here, in this talk, I will focus our recent work on the Aedes aegypti mosquito, an important disease vector.