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UW Entomology Professor to Discuss Ecuador Trip

November 11, 2011 — Scott Shaw, University of Wyoming professor of entomology, will discuss his research and teaching in eastern Ecuador at 4:10 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, in Room 138 of the Berry Center on 10th and Lewis streets.

The Faculty Senate Speakers Series talk will explore the ecological roles of insects in tropical cloud forests, how researchers are discovering previously unknown organisms and why everyone should care about the preservation of tropical ecosystems, plants and insects.

Shaw's tropical studies center on the National Science Foundation (NSF) Caterpillars and Parasitoids of the Eastern Andes (CAPEA) project. CAPEA is a biodiversity research project dedicated to discovering caterpillars, their life history, food plants and associated parasitoids, mostly wasps and flies.

"Our study site is the Yanayacu Biological Station, located at 2,200 meters elevation in one of the world's last remaining unexplored swathes of high-elevation cloud forest," Shaw says. "Situated at the edge of the Amazon Basin, Yanayacu is one of the world's ‘biodiversity hot-spots' for moths and butterflies."

Shaw began collecting insects at age 4 and has studied and worked at Michigan State University, University of Maryland, the Smithsonian Institution and Harvard University. Currently the curator of the UW Insect Museum, Shaw has discovered and named more than 152 new insect species (mostly wasps) from 29 different countries.

Twelve insect species have been named after him by other scientists, and he has produced more than 105 scientific publications about insect classification and evolution. His suggestion for a state butterfly, Sheridan's Green Hairstreak, was adopted by the Wyoming Legislature in 2009. His research on Ecuadorian insects has been funded by the NSF since 2004.

Shaw was awarded the 2003 UW Internationalization Award, and since 2005 he has been an honorary Research Associate of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University.

Entomologist Scott Shaw will give the Faculty Senate Speakers Series talk Tuesday at 4:10 p.m. in the Berry Center.

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