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Term Project

Organization of Teams

Integrated pest management, by its very nature, is a team endeavor, requiring the collaboration of many individuals with differing expertise. While working together collaboratively helps us to accomplish far more than we could individually, it adds another dimension of complexity to any effort—that of interpersonal interactions. We have to be able to deal with differences of opinion, issues of control, problems of equitability, and many other matters that, if not managed well, can lead to the collapse of the collaboration. The term project is designed to provide students the opportunity to exercise their teamwork skills while at the same time being evaluated as individuals.

During the first week of the semester, the class will be divided into teams of 3-4 students, and each team will select a pest problem on which to focus.

Selection of Pest Problem

Unfortunately, our climate precludes most outdoor crop production during the fall semester, so we are constrained, for the most part, to working in greenhouses, with indoor pest problems, such as cockroaches, cluster flies, etc. or with postharvest pest management in stored products, such as apples, grain, etc. There are a few outdoor pests, such as rodents and deer, that can be monitored and for which management actions can be taken during the period from September to December. Each team is free to select a pest on which to focus, as long as it has been approved by the instructor. While the focus of the project is a single pest, it must be considered within the context of the other pests in the system and the overall management of the system. The "system" in this case can be a farm, an orchard, a greenhouse, a building, a dining hall, or wherever the target pest population is found. (See recent project titles and potential contacts by topic.)

Analysis and Management of the Pest Problem

Each team will conduct an analysis of the selected pest management system, interviewing the manager, observing the problem, assessing the pest population, executing or overseeing the appropriate management action, and assessing the results. This will be done throughout the semester, as necessary according to the specific pest problem. Although some of the laboratory periods will be devoted to work on the team projects, much of the work will have to be arranged by individual teams outside of class.

Class Presentation of the Project

Time has been set aside during a couple of lecture periods (April 20 & 23) for each team to present a summary of its project to the rest of the class. The presentation should be about 15 minutes long, allowing at least 10 minutes for discussion. All members of the team must participate in the presentation.

Documentation of the project

On the last day of class (May 1), each team will submit documentation of its pest management project. Documentation should consist 4-8 single spaced pages (or the equivalent for double space), including 8 references at least 4 of which must be from peer-reviewed journal articles. Reports should be organized using the following guidelines:

  1. Definition of the problem. Describe the system being studied, identifying the major pests and explaining their impact on the system. Outline the pest management problems, and state the specific needs for changes to or development of an integrated pest management program.
  2. Statement of objectives. Define the objectives of the proposed experiment and its relationship to the pest management problem.
  3. Materials and methods. Describe experimental protocols and materials used.
  4. Results. Present the results of the experiments (or observations).
  5. Analysis and evaluation. Analyze the results and their implications for pest management. Suggest an IPM plan based on the results and analyze potential costs and benefits of the long term plan.
  6. Summary and conclusions.

Grading of the Project

The project reports will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. Demonstrated depth of understanding of integrated pest management concepts and principles
  2. The logic and reasoning demonstrated in applying these concepts to addressing this specific problem
  3. Creativity and originality demonstrated in innovative approaches to pest management
  4. Thoroughness and quality of the field evaluation and followup
  5. Quality of the class presentation
  6. Quality of the writing in the document submitted

Individual grades for the project will be adjusted upward or downward according to the contributions of each individual to the team effort as judged by (1) the perceptions of the instructors and the TA and (2) the team evaluation form completed by each individual. The Term Project will account for 25% of the final grade.