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ENT 506 PRINCIPLES OF INSECT ECOLOGY                                                                                 (2L+1P) II

Objective
  To teach the students the concepts of ecology, basic principles of distribution and abundance of organisms and their cause. Study life tables, organization of communities, and diversity indices. Train students in sampling methodology, calculation of diversity indices, constructing life tables, and relating insect population fluctuations to biotic and/or abiotic factors.

Theory

UNIT I
  History of ecology and its basic concepts; habitat and niche, food chain; ecological succession; population theories, Hopkin’s bioclimatic law, phase and biotic theory.

UNIT II
  Ecological and biological indicators; natural balance; biotic potential and environmental resistance; competition; factors affecting insect distribution in time and space; biotic and climatic control; diapause and quiescence, migration and dispersal; tropism and kinases.

UNIT III
  Spatial distribution; sampling; social life and thermoregulation; diversity; global climate change.

UNIT IV
  Modeling population dynamics; life table and key factor analysis; determination of thermal constant and threshold of development, population-weather models, forecasting concept, agro-ecological zoning, and remote sensing.

Practicals
  Types of distributions of organism. Methods of sampling insects, estimation of densities of insects and understanding the distribution parameters-measures of central tendencies, Poisson distribution, negative binomial distribution. Determination of  optimal sample size. Learning to fit basic population growth models and testing the goodness of fit. Fitting Holling’s Disc equation assessment of prey-predator densities from natural systems and understanding the correlation between the two. Assessing and describing niche of some insects of a single guild. Calculation of niche breadth, activity breadth and diagramatic representation of  niches of organisms. Calculation of some diversity indices-Shannon’s and Avalanche. Index and understanding their associations, and parameters that affect their values. Problem solving in ecology. Field visits to understand different ecosystems and to study insect occurrence in these systems.

Suggested Readings