After a year of cancelled or virtual meetings, the Painting lab crew were very excited to head off to Dunedin last week to attend the 69th NZ Entomological Society Conference hosted at the Otago Museum. For some of the students it was their very first scientific meeting, and a perfect opportunity to share research findings and ideas in a friendly, supportive environment.
As you can image, pretty much every entomologist in New Zealand was buzzing for the opportunity to hang out with their fellow bug nerds and talk science for a few days, so the conference ended up being fairly large for a local meeting – about 120 participants if I’m not mistaken!
All of the Masters students in the lab presented a poster on their research, with two of them receiving awards for their work. Grant Fale got 1st prize for best poster for his Masters research investigating the interactions between native bees and honey bees on mānuka flowers, while Rene Devenish won 2nd prize for her MSc research on the effects of temperature on the physiology and behaviour of pollinators.
Above: Rene with her prize winning poster on the effects of warming temperatures on the physiology and behaviour of pollinators (left), and Michaela with her poster outlining her research on the effects of population density on mating dynamics in giraffe weevils.
Simon gave an engaging talk on some of his preliminary findings from his field research and crossing experiments figuring out the mating system and dynamics of introgression in two Dolomedes fishing spiders. He also won a 21st Anniversary student research award to support his ongoing research, including some upcoming field trips to the deep south of NZ to find some introgressing spiders!
A fantastic addition to this year’s conference was a market desk packed full of beautiful NZ Entomology art including the NZ insect playing cards, prints by Josh MacKinnon, and an amazing insect poster and gift cards by Lily Duval.
Thanks to the organising committee for a wonderful few days hearing about all the great entomological research going on in NZ, and to our national COVID response team for making it possible to meet in person during a pandemic.