"Love and Death in the Life of a Firefly"
Speaker/Guide: Dr John Wenzel
Director, Powdermill Nature Reserve Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Location: Smith Wilkes Hall
Have you ever been curious about fireflies and their enticing photic communication system that they use in courtship? We will explore evolution of firefly flashing behavior originally derived as a defensive signal in the immature larva, then as a courtship device in adults, and finally as a predatory lure.
John Wenzel started studying insects at age 19 when he was a field assistant in Panama to famous entomologist and sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson. His career has taken him to many remote locations around the world, with more than three years in the field in tropical America and Africa, and a year in Europe. He has held positions at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France, and at the American Museum of Natural History, New York. He joined Ohio State Department of Entomology in 1994, where he was a professor for 17 years and won the highest teaching award Ohio State gives. He served as Director of the OSU Museum of Biological Diversity for ten years. John joined the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in 2011, where he has built new education and research programs at Powdermill Nature Reserve. John’s primary research has been on social insects such as ants, bees, and wasps, with a focus on the evolution of complex behavior and the organization of work. At Powdermill Nature Reserve, he founded an award-winning temperate ecology course for graduate students from Latin America. He and his staff also apply emerging technology to ecosystem science, such as their leading programs in using drones to capture landscape-level data, or using gigapixel technology to provide teaching tools for citizen scientists, and Virtual Reality 3D botanical models used for fun and teaching.
BTG's weekly Tuesday 12:15pm lecture platform features national experts presenting a range of topics concerning the natural world: wildlife, gardening, and the environment. Bring you lunch to Smith Wilkes Hall - lemon water provided. This signature lecture, usually with a slide show followed by Q&A, lasts approximately an hour. Engage with nature!