Taxonomy and Systematics


Taxonomy and systematics encompasses the relatively basic areas of insect systematics, physiology, behavior, ecology and conservation biology. Advances in understanding in these fundamental sub-disciplines support applications in the two program areas above. Major efforts under this program area include molecular (as well as morphological) systematics, systematic revision of target groups, biodiversity assessment (e.g., participation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory) and identification of indicator taxa, evaluation of insect responses to environmental changes (such as hurricanes and other natural and anthropogenic disturbances), insect effects on conditions of natural and managed ecosystems, and contributions to conservation programs. The Louisiana State Arthropod Museum (LSAM) currently houses nearly one million specimens, representing a major repository for Louisiana species but also representing substantial collections from Central and South America and Asia, as well as other parts of North America. LSAM represents a major institutional asset that documents the relative abundances of native species and the arrival of new species. LSAM collections are being integrated into a campus-wide database system to improve access and retrieval of specimens. Long-term studies are being conducted on arthropod responses to environmental changes in longleaf pine savannas and lowland hardwood forests in Louisiana and in tropical rainforest in Puerto Rico. We also have provided a complete faunistic survey of wildlife carcasses (reptiles and mammals) in south Louisiana to aid law enforcement in poaching cases. Major National Science Foundation funding has supported research in these areas. Ten faculty (all Graduate Faculty members) contribute to this program area.

Relevant Courses

  • ENTM 4002 - Insect Biology (cross listed w BIOL)
  • ENTM 4005 - Insect Taxonomy
  • ENTM 4015 - Conservation Biology (cross listed w PLHL)
  • ENTM 4016 - Introduction to Insect Physiology
  • ENTM 4018 - Forest Insects and Diseases
  • ENTM 4040 - Insect Ecology
  • ENTM 7001 - General Entomology
  • ENTM 7005 - Classification of Immature Forms of Insects
  • ENTM 7007 - Seminar in Entomology
  • ENTM 7008 - Special Topics in Entomology
  • ENTM 7030 - Aquatic Entomology (cross listed w RNR)
  • ENTM 7080 - Population Ecology (cross listed w BIOL)
  • ENTM 7979 - Organization for Tropical Field Courses


Chris Carlton
Systematics, taxonomy, and morphology

Nathan Lord
Insect systematics, and insect identifier