I should also add that there were some very interesting talks at the conference in South Korea. But, if I had to choose one, I would pick Prof. Steve Simpson’s Wiggelsworth Memorial Lecture. Prof. Simpson gave a great summary of his career to date and the future directions of the research he is involved in. His career has been as diverse as working in Psychology to a Locusts diet. It was a really inspiring presentation!!!
ICE- South Korea
So I travelled to South Korea three weeks ago for the International Congress of Entomology. I was fortunate enough to receive some funding from both UNE and also the Australian Entomological Society to get to the conference to present some of my PhD findings. I talked about how vulnerable the pollination networks of my study are and I got some really good feedback and questions about my research. I managed to pick up the flu in the airport (someone coughed on me at Sydney airport so I’m confident that was the cause), anyway, so I was quite ill for most of the conference. I still had my voice for my presentation but I was on pain killers at the time, so if you were at my talk I may have been a bit dazed!
I also stopped over in Hong Kong to and from Sydney. On the way to Korea I stayed for less than 12 hrs, which was enough to break up the flight. On the way back, however, I stayed for about 24hrs- it was great! I decided to treat myself for working hard by splurging on a room at a five star motel- The Grand Hyatt- and it was lovely (see the photo of my lavish bathroom).
So there were some other highlights other than the conference- especially as I was so sick, the motel in Hong Kong was definitely worth it. I dont think I’m in a position to comment much on Korea as I spent all my time inside a conference center (not exactly soaking up local culture) but I will say that their High Speed train, the KTX, was very good. I think it was better than the TGV in Europe- just more quiet and smooth.
Antlions….. one of my favourite insects. These cute little things trap ants in pits of sand, attacking them with their fierce jaws. They are from the order Neuroptera.
Wow…. It has been a really long time between posts
I have done two field seasons of collecting baseline data on pollinators and parasitoids in North West N.S.W now. I have found some interesting results, I discovered a new bee species, and I got to spend 6 months out in the bush collecting data in 2011. At the moment I am processing my pollen data (I swabbed each of my 700 bees, flies, beetles for pollen), which is no easy feat. My parasitoids are with a taxonomist in the U.K. being formally identified, while my native bees have all been identified. Currently I am in Bristol working with my co-supervisor, and so I have a wealth of information avaliable to me I would otherwise not have; my co-supervisor has an extensive pollen reference library, and considering a lot of plants from my sites in Australia are from european origin, this is very helpful. I will also be doing a presentation in Goettingen, Germany, while I am over here, going through my results.
I am coming to the end of my field work and I have some interesting results. I plan to do one more field trip to Moree to collect more pollinators, as I have struggled to collect these in previous trips, due to high winds and inclement weather.
This year has been an amazing growing season for crops in the Moree area, hence herbivorous insects and pollinators are generally in abundance. I collected three species of aphids from cereal crops and adjacent non-farmed areas. These were the rose-grain aphid, oat aphid and the turnip aphid.
There are many compounding factors which may be influencing aphid populations (eg: rainfall, temperature, plant characteristics such as stage of development). These factors will vary from year to year and hence so will aphid population dynamics. I found that my field work from this year yielded small numbers of aphids, and I suspect that this is because of above average winter rainfall.
Weedy and introduced plant species appear to be very important for the maintenance of beneficial insect populations (particular for parasitoid wasps). The turnip aphid was found in high numbers on turnip, clover and milk thistle not only around crops but also areas isolated from crops. One specific parasitoid wasp which parasitizes the rose-grain aphid (which is a pest in barley & to a lesser extent in wheat), also parasitizes the turnip aphid. The turnip aphid is also a known pest of canola.
I will be updating my blog soon with the information I gleen from my pollinator data.
Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to dicuss something with me!
Welcome to my blog!
At the moment I am very busy with my field work and sorting, so I wont be here very often. Please check out my profile on Academia.com if you’d like to know more about my research.