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SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY Professor of Entomology Department of Life Sciences Tel 868 663 1334 ext. 83096 Fax 868 645 1732 E-mail PROF. CHRISTOPHER STARR 122 After developing an interest in insects at a very early age Profes- sor Starr turned his main attention to social insects -- that peculiar minority of species that lives in durablestructured groups known as colonies - about 40 years ago. The core of his scientific work has been in the nesting biology and colony life of social insects. Around this centre he has also worked on a the systematics of social insectsb the history of insect sociobiologyand c the lives of solitary insects and arachnids. Biology of social insects In his core area Professor Starr has worked on both broader theoretical questions and the lives of particular species. One of the most enduring problems in the former is the very existence and success of sociality given that there are good theoretical reasons to expect individual insects to be selfishly anti-social and the colony unstable. The general answer appears to lie in the ecological advantages that sociality confers on individuals.Profes- sor Starr has sought insight into this question by way of a exami- nation of the common basis and variation in the colony cycle analogous to the life cycles of individual organisms and b exam- ining why wasps of the genus Polistes known in Trinidad Tobago as Jack Spaniards do not revert to solitary life under any environmental conditions anywhere in the world. Most specialists on social insects work in just one of the four groupssocial waspssocial beesants and termites. While his main attention has been to social wasps Professor Starr is one of the very few with publications on the biology of species in all four groups. He credits this not to any outstanding breadth of knowl- edge or short attention span but with having spent most of his adult life in tropical areas that are very rich in species but have relatively few entomologists. Systematics of social insects Due to the species richness and scarcity of specialists in such areas as the West Indies there is often a dearth of knowledge about exactly what plants and animals are here which impedes their biological study. Professor Starr has sought to ease this situation through faunistic studies of social wasps and some solitary wasps and through contributing to others work on social bees ants and termites. In a few cases he has described and named new species of social wasps. He is especially pleased to have found a new species in Trinidad and named it Mischocyttarus baconi after the late Professor of ZoologyPeter R.Bacon. In addition patterns of geographic distribution biogeography of social insects in this archipelago are a system- atic question of interest. Professor Starr has addressed this through the working hypothesis that The manner of colony founding is the main factor in the relative ability of a species to establish itself on distant islands. The evidence shows that this is broadly truewith the few exceptions telling us something about how species reach new areas. History of insect sociobiology The scientific study of social insects goes back to the dawn of biology more than 2000 years agoand insect sociobiology is now a well-established discipline. Nonetheless the history of its growth and development has only just begun to be written Professor Starr has made one major contribution to this history and is now working on others which will mature in the next two or three years. Among these are examinations of a Franois Hubers explanation of how the honey-bee breathes like an individual organism and b Jan Dzierzons key role in forming honey-bee biology into a distinct discipline. Lives of solitary insects and arachnids Before he turned his main attention to social insects Professor Starr had long sought to penetrate the lives of other bugs. This continues as a serious side-interestwith main attention going to the nesting biology of solitary wasps. At intervals Professor Starr has conducted his departments summer field-ecology course BIOL 3068 around the topic of social insects. He is active in the organization of his discipline as archivist for the International Union for the Study of Social Insects IUSSI and a long-time executive member of the IUSSIs Bolivarian Section which has responsibility for Central America and northern South America. In addition he recently joined the board of the Pest Management Association of Trinidad Tobago PMATT and has represented the urban pest-management industry in some meetings with government. Selected Publications Starr C.K. Steps toward a general theory of the colony cycle in social insects. Pp. 1-20 in V.E. Kipyatkov ed. Life Cycles in Social Insects. 2006St PetersburgSt Petersburg Univ.Press.