New Course in Biological Sciences: Entomology
This Fall, Dr. Natalie Clay, who started as an assistant professor in Biological Sciences Fall 2016, will be teaching a new course on entomology. Insects have important ecological, medical, veterinary, and cultural significance. The course is designed for junior level students and is a combination of lecture and lab. The lecture will cover the incredible diversity and importance of insects and through the lab students will learn how to sample and identify insects.
Dr. Clay earned her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Oklahoma where she researched termite-fungi interactions and their impact on coarse woody debris composition. Dr. Clay is passionate about insects and studies how nutrition influences the structure (the abundance and assemblage of species) and function (how they impact their environment) of insect communities, with a focus on ants and leaf litter arthropods. Specifically, at Louisiana Tech Dr. Clay has established a lab that incorporates graduate and undergraduate students in research investigating how nutrient availability impacts leaf litter invertebrate communities and ecosystem processes like decomposition. In her first year at Louisiana Tech Dr. Clay taught Ecology and a graduate seminar course on Ecological Stoichiometry: how elemental ratios (e.g., the proportion of carbon to nitrogen) in cells to ecosystems impact ecological processes. The course spanned a wide range of topics and included discussions and literature on how stoichiometry impacted biological processes from cancer to the success of invasive species.