Jon Patch chats it up with Richard Redak, one of the authors of Bugs Rule!:An Introduction to the World of Insects. Bugs Rule! provides a lively introduction to the biology and natural history of insects and their noninsect cousins, such as spiders, scorpions, and centipedes. This richly illustrated textbook features more than 830 color photos, a concise overview of the basics of entomology, and numerous sidebars that highlight and explain key points. Detailed chapters cover each of the major insect groups, describing their physiology, behaviors, feeding habits, reproduction, human interactions, and more.
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Research Specialization - Research in my lab is directed toward understanding the interactions between insect herbivores and their host plants and involves understanding the impacts that both host-plant and insect herbivore have upon one another. Such research involves investigating individual plant-insect interactions to community level processes. This involves determining the roles that plant attributes (plant defensive mechanisms, phenology, spatial distribution) have in influencing insect herbivore host-plant selection, feeding, growth, development, reproduction, and ultimately fitness and species distribution. Additionally, studies of plant-insect interactions must take into account the effects of insect herbivory upon host-plant populations under a variety of different environmental conditions. This includes not only estimating the impact of insect herbivory upon individual host plants (e.g. estimates of defoliation, leaf-loss, altered plant fitness and distribution, economic losses to crops where applicable) but also includes determining how these impacts are affected by changes in the biotic and abiotic environment of the plant and insect herbivore. As UCR is located at the 3-way interface between 1) one of the world's major urban centers, 2) major agricultural production areas, and 3) unique coastal, mountain, and desert ecosystems, we are provided with a unique opportunity to investigate the interactions between plants and insect herbivores within within all 3 types of areas and their interfaces. From an applied perspective this includes studies of phytophagous insects found in ornamental, floricultural, nursery, landscape and turfgrass plants as well as determining the impact of urbanization on native plant-insect associations. Such studies include the direct and indirect effects of air and water anthropogenic pollutants (CO2, ozone, acidic and particulate precipitation, use of run-off water), as well as other environmental stresses (e.g. habitat loss) upon plant-insect interactions. Currently, we are undertaking studies investigating 1) the use of whole insect communities to assess community recovery following fire or restoration, 2) the impact of land management practices on insect community structure 3) the importance of insect community structure and biomass distribution in determining the habitat quality of endangered species of vertebrate insectivores, 4) integrated pest management approaches directed toward controlling the glassy-winged sharpshooter, and 5) the host-plant selection and utilization by floricultural insect pests.