Five Edge Hill students were lucky enough to attend the BENHS ento-opportunities conference on the 28th October 2017.
The day started by inspecting the moth traps which had been set up the night before. The large moth traps, had a surprisingly diverse content, from several species of moths to some large sleepy European hornets.
After viewing the contents of the traps, the presentations began. The first presentation was “an inordinate fondness for bugs – building a career in entomology” by Alan Stewart, this talk explained about a 75% decline in invertebrate biomass over the last 27 years, and ways to help the recovery of the invertebrate species. Alan highlighted key ways to improve your chances of employment within entomology by honing your identification skills, being open-minded as to which group of invertebrates you want to specialise in, networking at meetings and conferences, volunteering if possible and most importantly not getting disheartened and giving up!
Next up was Matthew Esh from Edge Hill University, who spoke about his ongoing research with Silphidae beetles, and the importance of recording data via different services which are available to the public such as iRecord. Recording schemes are classed as outreach and can improve your C.V. I found Matthew to be very approachable and was more than happy to talk about his research.
The next talk was presented by Richard Comont on “Ladybirds and bumblebees: invasions and conservation”. Richard explained some of the new threats within ecology and conservation, such as the Asian Harlequin ladybird, and how it is affecting the biodiversity of our UK species through competition.
Following this, some students delivered presentations on current projects which they are carrying out in their free time. The one I found most fascinating was the “marmalade migration” delivered by Will Hawkes, which told the story of how hoverflies migrate over vast distances, from Britain all the way to Africa following the “aphid trail”!
In the afternoon, the first talk was by Graham Holloway speaking about “Reading insects”. Graham brought the room alive with his sharp wit and brilliant sense of humour. The talk explained Grahams current research, career history and how he came to be a lecturer at the university of Reading.
Next, Lizzy Peat managed to keep the upbeat atmosphere with her talk on “working in a local environmental records centre”, Lizzy explained how she completed her undergraduate degree and then carried out voluntary work before being recognised and offered a salary for the work that she was carrying out. The importance of this type of work was also very well explained, showing just how important it is to have a record of different invertebrate communities when planning applications are submitted. This talk enforced the fact that you don’t necessarily need to be field based to work in ecology.
Keith Lugg then explained new worm identification and recording techniques. The recording scheme introduced was the National Earthworm recording scheme: http://www.earthwormsoc.org.uk/identification
The final talk of the day came from team ENTOCAST (Liam Crowley and Nick Howe), who explained the possibilities of podcasting for a job, or for fun. Liam and Nick have an entomology based podcast called “ENTOCAST”. I have started listening to this and find it both entertaining and educational, and would highly recommend any budding entomologists to subscribe and give it a listen!
The presentations all gave a brilliant insight into building a career within entomology from field based ecology to Podcasting.
Overall, I highly recommend this meeting for any undergraduate or graduate who is planning to start a career within entomology. I will definitely be attending the meeting next year and will be subscribing to BENHS. I would also to like to thank all of the key speakers and the organisers especially Liam Crowley, Glenda Orledge, Ian Sims & Jon Cole for the photos.
2nd year BSc (Hons) Ecology and Conservation
Edge Hill University