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Caterpillars and their Diets Subject Of Annual Lecture at UCR May 24

Caterpillars and their Diets Subject Of Annual Lecture at UCR May 24

(May 10, 2000)

The diets of caterpillars and how their digestive systems cope with the sometimes-poisonous plant chemicals they ingest will be the topic of the annual Alfred M. Boyce Lecture scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, at the University of California, Riverside.

May Berenbaum, an internationally known entomologist and professor and chair of entomology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, will deliver the lecture in Watkins 1000 on the UCR campus. It is open to the public free of charge. A reception will follow at the Barn patio.

The lecture - "Gut Reactions: How Caterpillars Eat Poisonous Plants" - will explore the digestive mechanisms used by caterpillars to avoid being poisoned by certain chemicals contained in plants. Plants produce a variety of compounds toxic to many insects and a major focus of Berenbaum's research is how insects have developed defenses against them.

Berenbaum is widely known in the field of entomology. In addition to her work on the interactions between plant-eating insects and their host plants, she has published three books of general interest, including "Bugs in the System: Insects and their Impact on Human Affairs," which won the 1997 Science Book of the Year award. She has authored nearly 100 scientific papers and has published a number of articles in the popular scientific press, including Horticulture, American Bee Journal and Ranger Rick maga zines.

Each year at the University of Illinois, she organizes the Insect Fear Film Festival featuring films of all genres in which bugs are often inaccurately portrayed.

Berenbaum is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences and has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. All three are considered among the most prestigious of honors in academic circles.

The annual Boyce lecture honors the late Al Boyce, who during a 60-year association with UCR pioneered the development and use of insecticides and biological methods to combat a variety of agricultural insect pests.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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