2022 National Meeting Keynote Address
The interconnectivity and dynamic relationships between plants, humans, and insects were the focus of Dr. Deane Bower’s keynote address, “Better Living Through Plant Chemistry: People, Parasites and Pollinators.” As a Professor of Biology and the Curator of Entomology at the University of Colorado, Dr. Bower’s research interests are in the interaction of insects with plants, their environment, and their enemies. She is especially interested in the chemical mediation of plant-insect-enemy interactions, but also in the ways human alterations of the environment affect these interactions.
Her talk highlighted the array of chemical compounds produced by plants—known as natural products or secondary metabolites—which are important for the interactions of plants with other organisms. Once thought to be the waste disposal system of plants, these compounds have been used by humans for millennia in diverse ways, such as in medicines, poisons and pesticides, flavorings, and dyes. They are also important for other organisms that interact with plants, including enemies like herbivores (considered parasites of plants) and pathogens, as well as beneficial pollinators.
Dr. Bower’s presentation reinforced the importance of plants to their natural environment and also to the organisms that interact with and rely on them for various purposes – affirming the CPC network’s shared mission to conserve and safeguard these incredible plant species.