News Round-Up

Researchers discover eyes are potential window for managing insects without chemicals


The world’s insects are headed down the path of extinction with more than 40 per cent of insect species in decline according to the first global scientific review, published in early 2019. Intensive agriculture is the main driver, particularly the heavy use of pesticides.

Now, however, SFU biological sciences researchers Adam Blake and Gerhard Gries have made a key discovery that could help to reverse this decline. In a new study, published earlier this month in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, they reveal how insects use polarized light to differentiate which plants to eat or lay eggs on—by looking at how light reflects from their leaves.

Their discovery holds major promise for developing chemical-free pest-management systems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, two widely used pesticides, malathion and chlorpyrifos, cause harm to many of the mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and plants on the endangered species list. MORE

Header image: Simon Fraser University.

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