Hello all! Welcome to the 2019/2020 MSc Entomology blog posts. We have settled into life in Harper Adams, and are half way through our second module (Biology and Taxonomy of Insects). Over the next few months we’ll introduce new students in various blog posts about our areas of interest or particularly notable adventures. We also have some exciting trips planned where we hope to share our love of insects! For now, a recap of the last few weeks.
We started life at Harper with a day of inductions and introductions; we met everyone on the course and learned where everything is and how it all works. After this, we had three days of Research and Information Skills, learning about the peer review process and how to critically review papers, as well as an exciting introduction to the statistical analysis software R (no sarcasm there I promise!). Friday was graduation of last year’s cohort as well as undergrads, and was a lovely sunny day of celebrations and certainly something to look forward to a year from now. From here we were set off to write our first assignment, and made good use of the week break to get started on this and explore the local area.
Biology and Taxonomy of Insects has been a fantastic module to get our teeth (or mouthparts) into; from keying out Fimo clay larvae to dissecting out froghopper genitalia (to identify the species of course) we’ve had a wonderful week. Our week consisted of morning lectures for a general introduction to the Orders (Orthoptera, Hemiptera, and Hymenoptera), then an afternoon laboratory session to dissect and identify species within the order. We also had sessions on sampling methods and larval stage identification (and its difficulties). Our visit on Wednesday from Andrew Polaszek and his incredible knowledge of Hymenoptera certainly inspired us!
A small introduction to this years Royal Entomological Society scholars, as well as a huge thank you to the RES for their continued sponsorship, is in order. A full blog post will be written after the submission of their essays, but for now I asked for a brief factsheet from each person, here goes my attempt at formatting on WordPress for the first time!
Name: Jennifer Jones (@jendiberjones)
Undergrad degree: Ecology (Aberystwyth University)
Favourite insect: A tricky one. I think it could be the hairy footed flower bee as the males have a little white moustache and hairy arms too!
Hobbies: Reading, bio recording, some wildlife photography and knitting.
Future plans: Hopefully researching insects and the services pollinators supply and how to help them, or possibly independent ecological survey specialising in insects and museum curation.
Name: Charlie Rose (@CharlieMyrmRose)
Undergrad degree: Zoology (University of Derby)
Favourite insect: Ants (particularly Cephalotes specularis)
Hobbies: Reading, hiking, and board games with friends.
Future plans: Research, preferably working on ant ecology or biology.
Name: Louis Nicholls (Petition to get Louis on Twitter coming soon)
Undergrad degree: Biology (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Favourite insect: Praying mantises (order Mantodea) and of them, at the moment, the Tarachodid bark mantises. Mantids are beautiful, charismatic and diverse yet, unfortunately, they’re extremely poorly studied – I find this baffling considering the long-standing historical and cultural presence of the group worldwide.
Hobbies: Along with photography, I love martial arts and, most of all, catching and studying bugs (and I don’t just mean Hemiptera!)
Future plans: To add to the knowledge on Mantodea, with a focus on their ecology and an aim to explore whether they hold potential as tropical bioindicators.
Name: Graham Smith (@Ento_Bento)
Undergrad degree: Biology (University of Nottingham)
Favourite insect: Bloody-nosed beetle
Hobbies: Rambling, running, anime, drawing.
Future plans: Building confidence to potentially lecture in future, to share my enthusiasm with others.
Now, back to assignment writing and reading up on the orders we studied last week!