Plants and insects communicate in numerous ways, and chemistry plays a key role in these communications. Natural compounds determine whether a plant is consumed by insects or avoided by them, or which insects may pollinate its flowers. Some insects have learned to use plant compounds as their own defenses, and some plants digest insects as nutritional supplements. Plant-insect interactions are vital for our food supply, for pollination of orchards, and for the production of honey and silk. They can also be most destructive in insect infestations of crops.
Greti Séquin will introduce the subject of her new book, The Chemistry of Plants and Insects: Plants, Bugs, and Molecules. With her enthusiastic and accessible way of connecting chemistry with plants and insects, she presents organic compounds in a motivating, understandable context that captures the interest of people who would like a deeper understanding of the natural world. Her presentation and book are aimed at non-chemists who enjoy observing plants and insects during walks in the outdoors or while visiting botanical gardens and other nature areas.
Greti (Margareta) Séquin has a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, with emphasis on natural products, from the University of Basel, Switzerland. After postdoctoral work at Princeton University she has been teaching organic chemistry, natural products chemistry, and chemistry for non-majors at San Francisco State University for more than 20 years. As a plant enthusiast, with great interest in the insect world as well, she has been a docent at the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Berkeley, California, for the last 20 years. She has led numerous field seminars at botanical gardens and at nature preserves, teaching about plant chemistry. She is dedicated to making organic chemistry accessible by combining it with the natural world. Greti Séquin is the author of The Chemistry of Plants: Perfumes, Pigments, and Poisons, published by RSC (Cambridge, UK) in 2012, and The Chemistry of Plants and Insects: Plants, Bugs, and Molecules, (RSC, 2017).
East Bay CNPS membership meetings are free of charge and open to everyone. This month’s meeting takes place in the Garden Room of the Orinda Public Library at 26 Orinda Way (in Orinda Village). The Garden Room is on the second floor of the building, accessible by stairs or an elevator. The Garden Room opens at 7 pm; the meeting begins at 7:30 pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 510-496-6016 if you have questions.