Friday, September 14, 2018 at 12:20pm
Professor, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior
Floral scent, the focus of my research, is a key sensory component of plant-pollinator communication, a poorly explored dimension of floral phenotype, and a major chemical expression of biological diversity. I work at the rich biological interface between insects and plants, an important source of terrestrial biodiversity and complex ecological interactions. To a great extent, this richness is manifested in chemistry: the chemistry of defense and resistance, of mimicry and deception, of communication between mutualists, and in physiology; the physiology of signal detection and processing, of sensory integration and its impact on behavior. My training in plant and insect biology reflects my commitment to understanding chemical communication from the standpoints of signal production and detection. Due to technological challenges and historical visual biases among pollination biologists, the study of floral scent remains a biological frontier with unlimited potential for novel research initiatives. During the past decade, I have dedicated myself to the goal of integrating floral scent into the field of pollination biology, through my own multidisciplinary studies and publication of several review papers, through training students and postdocs in volatile analysis and behavioral bioassays and through organizing and chairing the first Gordon Research Conference in my field.