Arizona has three universities with a shared Board of Regents. Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona State University in Tempe near Phoenix and the University of Arizona in Tucson. The University of Arizona is the land grant university with a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a research program that includes, besides basic work, studies of particular importance to agriculture, urban problems, and the community at large. Only the University of Arizona has an Entomology Department.
The University of Arizona
The University of Arizona was founded in 1885. From the six initial faculty and thirty-two students, it has grown to a University with over 2,000 faculty and 35,000 students. In recent years it has made a commitment toward excellence in teaching and research, especially in the life sciences, and it is now one of the top 20 research universities in the country with a first class science library. Insect research is a major focus.
The Entomology Department office and the University of Arizona Insect Collection occupy the north and west wings of the top floor of the Forbes Building (map). This is one of the grand old buildings erected in 1915, with a handsome pillared front entrance and a grassy courtyard and rose garden on the back side. The new Agriculture Building has allowed us to expand to suit our growing needs.
On-campus attractions include:
- Grace Flandrau Planetarium, northeast corner of University Blvd. and Cherry Ave.
- Center for Creative Photography, northwest corner of University and Tyndall Ave.
- Arizona State Museum, just inside the main gate on University Blvd.
- Museum of Art, on Olive Rd. just off Speedway Blvd.
The University of Arizona encourages inter-disciplinary research. The increasing complexity of biological knowledge and the limitations on individual endeavor are seen as a particular reason for combining research efforts in different laboratories and for increased interactions among scientists with different disciplines. This approach makes the working environment particularly stimulating.
Apart from the University, there are several organizations in southern Arizona where research on insects is carried out and where there are useful facilities. For example, the Southwestern Research Station at Portal is an excellent field station in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona run by the American Museum of Natural History. This spectacular site and the good laboratory facilities and accommodations are about a four-hour drive southeast of Tucson. The Audubon Society's Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch, in Elgin, Arizona, is primarily grassland at about 5,000 ft. This area provides research opportunities in grassland and riparian habitats with housing and laboratory space for field researchers and is about a one hour drive southeast of Tucson.
The National Park Service administration actively encourages and has sometimes funded arthropod ecological research and surveys on its numerous sites in southern Arizona. The Nature Conservancy has many unique holdings in southern Arizona where approved research on the ecology of rare, endangered, or indigenous species may be conducted. All of the above listed holdings can restrict and control public access thus insuring minimal disturbance of intermediate and long term study areas. The extensive National Forests in the mountain ranges of southern Arizona offer opportunities for forest insect research.
University of Arizona Campus Departments
Departments other than Entomology involved with insects include the following:
The Departments of Biochemistry, Molecular Biophysics and Molecular and Cellular Biology are campus-wide departments serving the College of Science. Among thirty-five faculty in Biochemistry, five are particularly involved with insects, in particular, lipid metabolism, insect hormones and pheromones, and protein chemistry. In Molecular and Cell Biology the main insect focus concerns developmental biology of Drosophila. The Department of Microbiology and Immunology includes work on molecular evolution of defense molecules.
Within the College of Agriculture, the Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology has faculty involved with insects that transmit diseases, and the Department of Plant Sciences has faculty involved in plant-insect interactions.
The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) in the College of Science has currently seven faculty involved with research on insects, with ecology and systematics being the major emphasis. Several courses are co-listed between EEB and Entomology.
In addition to regular departments within the Colleges of the University, the Arizona Research Laboratories (ARL) is an interdisciplinary research unit established to provide a mechanism for administering and fostering interdisciplinary research. It forms research groups to initiate new programs of high priority. Its divisions include
- Biomedical Engineering
- Division of Neurobiology
- Division of Neural Systems, Memory and Aging
- Committee on Neuroscience
- Microcirculation Division
- Center for Insect Science
The Institute for Environment works across the University of Arizona campus to provide both disciplinary and interdisciplinary research relating to the environment of the Earth, from local to global scales, and how this environment is likely to change in coming seasons, years, and decades. The institute encourages multidisciplinary action on and off campus, as well as with users of environmental knowledge and information. One of their main goals is to forge new paradigms in University partnership with society's decision-makers.
Center for Insect Science
The Center for Insect Science (CIS) is a unique organization at the University of Arizona for funding interdisciplinary research on insects. Its beginning was a grant proposal to NSF written by six insect researchers in four different departments.
The CIS was established in 1988 and involves about 112 researchers from around the State of Arizona including the departments of biochemistry, ecology and evolutionary biology, entomology, molecular and cellular biology, neurobiology, pathology, at the University of Arizona, the Department of Zoology at Arizona State University, the Department of Biology at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, and three USDA facilities. The center is funded by several federal grants, the MacArthur Foundation, as well as by industry and the University. Research efforts span the full range of modern biological investigation.
Regular half day presentation and discussion programs aim to get insect researchers together from different disciplines and encourage exchange of knowledge and ideas that foster interdisciplinary research.
Additional activities include expansion of basic insect knowledge through educational outreach, communication, and technology transfer. The CIS sponsors graduate and postdoctoral programs and works cooperatively with national and international industry and governments.
The Director of CIS is Dr. Nicholas J. Strausfeld, Regents' Professor in the Arizona Research Laboratories Division of Neurobiology. Further information and a brochure are available from Sharon Richards, the Senior Program Coordinator (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).