I just returned from a four-day trip to Reno, Nevada, where thousands of entomologists from around the world were gathered to share the latest and greatest in entomology research at the 59th annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America. I shared the latest and greatest on my research on mosquitoes in Greenland (and yes, I’m happy to report that the weighing is done) at a poster session on Wednesday morning.
[Lauren explaining emergence traps to an onlooker.]
I’m always reminded at these meetings how Entomology (i.e., the study of insects), though seemingly disciplinary on the basis of its name, is actually an incredibly interdisciplinary field. Entomologists use tools from fields such as chemistry, ecology, molecular biology, physics, sociology, and economics to address significant and emerging global issues, e.g., management of food and crop pests, the spread of invasive species, disease transmission by mosquitoes, and what the heck to do about bed bugs! Entomologists are also extremely effective communicators, some of the best I’ve known, because public well-being is so often at stake.
As IGERT students, how to do interdisciplinary science and how to communicate that science to the public is at the core of our thinking. My thought is that Entomologists could provide a strong and useful perspective. I’ll link to one of my favorite websites, Bug of the Week, run by entomologist Dr. Mike Raupp at the University of Maryland. The archived titles, e.g. Gnarly roses, Millipedes on steroids, Bugs in love, lovebugs, and kissing bugs, invoke widespread interest from the public, and can hopefully inspire us, as interdisciplinary climate scientists, to think more creatively about our approaches to communication.