by Srishti Batra – I just came back from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany, where I was attending a course on Insect Chemical ecology. The two week course included research talks and practical sessions. Shannon gave a research talk about NICE projects and I presented my work in the form of poster. It was an interesting course covering diverse topics in the field. There were amazing talks on odor coding in insect brains and behavioral responses. Learnt a lot about insect brains and, it seems that hawkmoths and drosophila are the favorite insects species as lot of work is done on them.
On a non-scientific note, Jena is a beautiful city located in a hilly landscape, within the valley of the Saale river. A nature walk around the city is full of mesmerizing views, and if one happens to be at the right time of year, several diverse orchid species can be seen. We went on one such hike but saw only one flowering orchid, but it was not disappointing as I saw lots of hoverflies.