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History and Introduction

 

 

The discipline of chemical ecology had it s origins at Cornell University when visionary scientists (including Eisner, Feeny, Meinwald, Renwick, Roelofs, Whittaker and others) merged a mechanistic understanding of chemistry with the behavior, phenotypes, and interactions of species.  Indeed, the world’s first course in chemical ecology was initiated at Cornell in 1968 and a tremendous amount of growth has occurred since.  A modern revolution in chemical ecology has been fueled by high throughput technologies that have simplified the screening and phenotyping of large numbers of natural product samples, which allow scientists to address questions previously out of reach.  For example, predicting the outcome of global climate change or predator induced natural section on natural products (which mediate many interactions) depends on the ability to screen many compounds from volumes of samples (i.e., quantitative genetic breeding designs, or screens under altered environmental conditions).

Through campus initiatives, Cornell has kept pace with maintaining world leadership in chemical ecology.  Hires have been made in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Entomology, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Natural Resources, Neurobiology and Behavior, and the Plant Sciences which have strengthened Cornell’s position in chemical ecology.  Energized by this new and growing community, we now aim to train students and facilitate use of equipment that is typically out of reach for many biologists.  The impact on research, collaboration, and graduate student training will be tremendous and we look forward to productive and mutualistic interactions.

Our sincere thanks go to the financially contributing units on campus: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, New Life Sciences, Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Entomology, Horticulture, Neurobiology and Behavior, and Plant Biology, and Boyce Thompson Institute.

© 2011 Cornell Chemical Ecology Group