This talk will discuss the importance of training “genome-enabled field biologists (GEFBs)” using a specific program that teaches them to be adept at using the most powerful tools of biology, as well as being intimate with the art of natural discovery. Many graduate training programs still reflect a disconnect that splits biology departments along cellular-molecular-developmental and ecological-evolutionary lines. As a consequence, students are frequently poorly trained in ecological skills, and vice versa. Field stations that can be used as “natural laboratories” for the phenotyping of genetically defined and manipulated plants and other organisms in their habitats play a central role in this research program. To illustrate the approach, this lecture will provide examples of GEFBs who have discovered how a native plant has solved its own pest problems: a fundamental issue that plagues all agricultural processes.
Dr. Ian Baldwin learned the scientific method as an auto mechanic, where hypotheses were towed in every morning and were adequately falsified if the cars drove out under their own steam with happy customers. He got his first scientific job sampling the caterpillar fauna in the upper canopies of forests, due to his skills as a logger and tree climber. He received an AB from Dartmouth College; a PhD in Chemical Ecology from the Section of Neurobiology at Cornell University; rose through the academic ranks at the State University of New York at Buffalo; and in 1996 became the founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany where he heads the Department of Molecular Ecology. He has published more than 350 peer-reviewed papers, several book chapters and one book on chemically-mediated ecological interactions.
Free and open to the public. Seating is limited. RSVP required by March 25 to 561.972.9027 or rsvp at maxplanckflorida.org