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Call for symposia, ESC/ESO 2021 JAM

The Scientific Programming committee for the ESC/ESO 2021 JAM – Strength in Diversity – is soliciting invited symposia to be presented at the 2021 JAM to be held at Marriott on the Falls, Niagara Falls Ontario between Sunday October 3rd to Wednesday October 6, 2021.

JAM theme and vision

Strength in Diversity. The insects are among the most diverse group of organisms on the planet, and entomologists are applying an increasingly diverse toolkit to advance knowledge on a diversity of topics in the field. We are keenly aware of the declines in the diversity of insects that threaten vital ecosystem functions, human health, and our economy. We are also becoming increasingly aware of systematic barriers that preclude many from studying and practicing entomology, threats that likely impact the productivity and ingenuity of entomological research in Canada. Our goal for the 2021 JAM – Strength in Diversity – is to showcase state of the art entomological research on a diversity of taxa, ecosystems and disciplines, and to collectively discuss solutions to enhancing equity and diversity in Entomology.

Interested researchers should submit a 1 page symposium proposal containing the following elements:

  1. Title of the proposed symposium
  2. Name(s), contact and affiliation for the Chair of the symposium
  3. Potential list of talks and speakers. Please indicate which speakers have confirmed their willingness to participate.
  4. A brief statement of how the symposia compliments that theme of the JAM.
  5. Time requirements. Our schedule can accommodate both 15 min presentations (12 min talk + 3 min Q&A), or 30 min presentations (25 min talk + 5 min Q&A).
  6. Any additional notes for consideration.

All proposed symposia must give appropriate consideration to equity, diversity and inclusion principles when selecting speakers.

Deadline for submission September 14 2020. Please email submissions to escjam2021@gmail.com

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Meeting Announcement

The Entomological Society of Saskatchewan fall meeting, December 6, 2019, will be held from 1:30-3:00 at the Saskatoon Research and Development Centre.  For more information visit the ESS website.

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Meeting Announcement

The 2020 Joint Annual Meeting (JAM) of the Entomological Society of Canada and the Entomological Society of Alberta will be held on Oct 18-21, 2020 at the Carriage House Inn in Calgary, Alberta. We are pleased to announce our keynote speaker, Dr. Laura Lavine, Professor and Chair of the Department of Entomology at Washington State University. Dr. Lavine specializes in the evolution of adaption, and how insects can rapidly adjust to their environments. Also, save the date of Saturday, Oct 17, 2020 for an exciting field trip, details to come!  For more information on JAM 2020, please visit the meeting website.

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The ESA-ESC-ESBC JAM is around the corner

By Staffan Lindgren

Many of us remember our first interaction with the Entomological Society of America (ESA) when we co-hosted a JAM in Montreal. Canadians were generally upset that the meeting was controlled completely by the ESA. Because of this, many ESC members have been skeptical of the upcoming meeting, thinking that it may be a repeat of that experience.

I have been one of a number of ESC and ESBC members who have participated in the organization of this meeting. I am writing this short blog because I want to assure you that the ESA staff has gone out of their way to be inclusive with both ESC and ESBC. They acknowledged from the start the mistakes that were made in 2000, and they have lived up to their promise of better relations this time. We have met on-site in person twice (June 2017 and June 2018) and this year we have had monthly conference calls to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks. ESA staff has obviously handled the administrative duties given their experience and resources, but they have been extremely receptive to our suggestions and requests, and I cannot speak highly enough of all of them. Rosina Romano, Becky Anthony and others have been amazing to work with (I think they are miracle workers), and we can look forward to a great meeting where all three societies will be equal parties.

In these times of political uncertainty and what seems like daily tragedies throughout the world, it is re-assuring to know that our profession of entomology serves as a shining example of how well we can get along when we treat each other with respect and in a spirit of cooperation.

I look forward to seeing you in Vancouver.

Vancouver Convention Centre. Image: https://www.vancouverconventioncentre.com/facility

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Entomologists wanted! It is time to renew your membership!

By Staffan Lindgren @bslindgren

Ever since childhood, I have been happiest crawling around turning over rocks, removing bark from stumps and inspecting every potential animal I can see. Early on, I was pretty much on my own, except for encouragement from my parents. At an early age, even before I reached teenage, I started joining various organizations that catered to likeminded geeks. Over the years, I have been involved in, or a member of literally dozens of such organizations. Central to my fascination has always been insects, and my dream was always to become an entomologist.

The first entomological society I joined was “Sveriges Entomologiska Förening” in Sweden. Because I grew up in a small northern town, I never really had the privilege of getting to know other members, and before I had much of a chance I was off to Canada. By then I had made some connections to Swedish entomologists through the professors, lecturers, and students of Umeå University, the Royal College of Forestry (now part of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) and Uppsala University. I remained a member of SEF for some years, but once I knew that my planned return to Sweden was not going to happen, I gave that membership up in favour of the societies that I had joined and had closer connections with in North America. I have now been a member in good standing of the Entomological Society of Canada, ESBC, and ESA for more than 35 years, which is almost the entire time I have lived in Canada. I have served each of these societies in executive or other functions, most recently for four years on the executive of the ESC. Through these societies, I have gotten to know many colleagues who I now regard as friends as much as colleagues, I have established research collaborations, and gained a lot of knowledge that I would have missed by only reading what happened to be directly relevant to my own interests. In my opinion, I would not have had what little success I have enjoyed without my engagement in scientific society life.

Due to the unfortunate circumstances of my successor as President, I am currently Acting Past-President. One of my duties is to chair the Nominations Committee, which identifies individuals willing to put their name forward to serve on the ESC Governing Board (If you are interested in putting your name forward for 2nd Vice-President or Director-at-Large, PLEASE CONTACT ME!). In order to help me with this task, I requested a copy of the 2016 membership list. In going through the spreadsheet, I was rather disturbed at the absence of numerous individuals, some of whom have previously served important roles in promoting the ESC (you know who you are!). I know that it is easy to forget to pay the membership dues, but I have a feeling that the reasons for opting out are not always that simple. In the next week or so, memberships will expire, and it is time to once again contribute to your national and regional societies. I know that it seems like a lot of money, but if you think about it, we are talking about sums that are unlikely to break the bank of anyone. The ESC regular membership would be paid off by giving up about 60 cups of Tim Horton’s coffee or 30 cups of Starbucks special coffees. In other words,  you would have to forego only about 2-3 cups of Starbucks per month to save enough. It may not seem that supporting the ESC gives you much in return, but if the society is not supported, it would mean that the Canadian Entomologist (one of the oldest journals in the world), the Bulletin, and the Annual meetings would cease to exist. That also means that opportunities to mix with likeminded geeks become more expensive and less frequent. That would be a shame, wouldn’t it?

Please, go to the computer right now and join or renew as a member of the ESC (and whatever Regional Society that is close to you). The ESC needs your support, and I believe you will benefit from being part of the national entomological family of Canada. For me, it has been a privilege to be part of one of the most welcoming and inclusive group of people in science. Please join me!

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Joint Annual Meeting ESC-ESM 2017 – Winnipeg, MB

Yes, the International Congress of Entomology, which included the 2016 Entomological Society of Canada meeting contained within it, has just drawn to a close, but it’s never too early to start planning and preparing for the next ESC Annual Meeting!

So, in 2017, please accept the invitation of the Entomological Society of Manitoba to join entomologists from across the country in Winnipeg October 22-25 to share their, and your, entomological research and curiosity!

Official 2017 ESC-ESM Joint Annual Meeting Website

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Winning Presentations

Photo 1 The author’s graduate student, Andrew Chaulk, captured in mid-presentation at the ESCJAM 2015 in Montreal. Andrew received an honourable mention for this communication. (photo by Sean McCann)

The author’s graduate student, Andrew Chaulk, captured in mid-presentation at the ESCJAM 2015 in Montreal. Andrew received an honourable mention for this communication. (photo by Sean McCann)

Guest post by Tom Chapman

 

My students frequently win prizes for their conference presentations (2015 was a particularly good year for our group), and I am more than willing to bask in their reflected glory. But really, was I a brilliant speaker in my day? Simply put, no. I have gotten better, you can’t help it, it just comes with age. And perhaps having taken my lumps, I am now able to provide some helpful advice. Looking back on my public speaking experiences, I think I can offer two lessons for students that are worried about presenting at scientific meetings: (1) there is time to develop as a speaker (2) in the meantime, if you are earnest; that is, you think you have something to say, no matter how modest, that could benefit your audience, your presentation is going to go well. To demonstrate these lessons, what follows is primarily the story of my last, and scariest, undergraduate presentation. Although, I start this story the year after that.

 

It was orientation day for us newly enrolled graduate students. We were shown the library, we met the office staff, we met our graduate student representatives and we were given advice on various aspects of graduate student life by the faculty. One grad-rep told us that these were to be the “best days of our lives!” I was hopeful, but she turned out to be very wrong (lots of bloggy grist there for another time). More nonsense was presented to us on the subject of presentations. Let’s call this presenter Professor Ramrod. Never use humour in a talk – and there was none to be found in Ramrod’s Address. Men should wear a tie and jacket and women should wear a skirt suit. He was wearing a classic tweed jacket with leather elbow patches; yup, I’m sure you are picturing him perfectly now. During this presentation I tried and failed to make knowing eye contact with my fellow novices. They must have been concentrating very hard on their poker faces, otherwise, were they really taking seriously this dinosaur’s fashion advice? Ramrod’s list of no-no’s continued: never lean on the lectern, never move out from behind the lectern, never put your hands in your pockets, never… In brief, this teacher of the highest rank’s take home message: there is only one way to give a presentation. What bullshit! I think you get advice like this from people that assume when they find themselves at their destination that every step they took en route was a positive and essential one. And they must be incurious in the stories of others in order to believe that they have found the one true path. I have a colleague that told me his secret to winning large research grants. I leaned forward attentively as he said “use plenty of sub-headings.” Ta-da! I’ve read his grant applications. He is wildly successful despite using a ludicrous number of pointless sub-headings. Similarly, my ramrod impaled professor above, was successful despite being an uninspiring orator. Take note here, you have to give presentations, but you don’t need to be good at it to have a career in science. On that first day of orientation, I sensed that presentation-cat-skinning could be done a number of ways, but I hadn’t found my way. In fact, my last presentation as an undergraduate was a nightmare.

The author (1990), Truelove Lowlands, Devon Island. (photo by Christine Earnshaw)

The author (1990), Truelove Lowlands, Devon Island. (photo by Christine Earnshaw)

 

I was enrolled in a research course where you conduct an original project, write a paper about it, and then present it to the faculty. My project was in the Canadian high arctic (Truelove lowlands on Devon Island, to be more precise), and I was measuring the amount of heat energy absorbed by the inflorescences of Salix arctica, the arctic willow. What does this have to do with insects? Not a lot, I focused on the impact of heat on the development time of pollen and ovules. But maybe you didn’t know that some insects can be attracted to some plants for the heat energy they offer. I did find fly larvae in some of the fuzzier inflorescences of the willows on Devon, but I didn’t pursue it. If that observation hasn’t already been noted and published by others, you’re welcome to it. Everything that was involved in executing this project, even the data analysis and writing, was a thrilling experience for me. I had plenty of help and inspiration from others, and I do credit this experience with influencing my decision to pursue a career in research. Again, my oral presentation was almost the undoing of that.

 

While helping me to prepare my talk, my adviser could sense that I was very nervous. So, he told me the story of the student he supervised in the course the previous year. Apparently, this student did a great job collecting data and putting together the final paper. His presentation went well enough, but the final slide, no one knows why, was a picture of this student and his girlfriend. They were both naked, spread eagled and caught in mid-jump off the end of someone’s cottage dock. There was no microphone in the classroom, but it was certainly a drop-mic moment. He took no questions and walked out of the room never to be seen again, or so I was told. I think I was to take from this story that no matter how bad my presentation went it wouldn’t be that bad. Instead, what I took from this story was that it was possible to screw up so horribly that you could be remembered forever and used as a warning to others. It never helps, don’t tell these stories when someone is feeling anxious. It’s the same rule when trying to comfort someone before a comprehensive exam or dissertation defence. When you say something like, “don’t worry about it, Terri passed and she’s an idiot”, that just means to your listener that not only will they fail, they’ll be stupider than Terri. If you get told an apocryphal public speaking story, keep a few things in mind. The teller usually wasn’t present at the talk, so who knows how true the story is, and the teller never goes on to say what happened to the person afterwards. I didn’t see spread-eagle boy’s talk, I can’t be sure of its veracity, but if my advisor had gone on to say that the guy passed the course anyway, and that spread-eagle boy and his girlfriend are still in love and doing crazy fun things together, I would have felt better. Public speaking is rarely lethal, and even if it goes badly the impacts on you and your career are local and temporary.

 

I didn’t have that perspective the evening before this arctic willow talk. I didn’t sleep at all, and let’s just say that I left the bathroom fan on for the night. There were five of us to give talks, I was last. There were about 15 faculty and a handful of graduate students in attendance, each of them was armed with five printed sheets of paper to guide them in their evisceration of the five of us. The small size of the classroom made it very cramped and, therefore, this already intimidating audience was made more menacing. I don’t know how my classmates performed or what their projects were about because I was lost in anxious thoughts. When my turn finally came I was bloated with gas and in pain. I gingerly walked to the lectern and then stood unmoving. I was following Professor Ramrods future advice, but only because I was afraid if I moved I would fart. When I began my talk I discovered that my tongue would repeatedly release with a clack from the roof of my very dry mouth. I would utter a few sentences that sounded like clack, clack, clack, clack, and then I would pause. During these pauses I would switch hundreds of times rapidly between two panicky thoughts: run away now and never look back; stick it out and finish this crappy little lecture. Then I would continue clack, clack, clack, clack, pause, clack, clack, clack, clack, pause until my talk was finished. I wasn’t completely sure how it went, but at least I didn’t fart. I wonder if there is someone out there who was unable to say that at the end of their presentation?

 

In my evaluations several people indicated irritation that they couldn’t see the whole screen because I was blocking some of it, and they suggested that I move around a bit; they didn’t know I had gas, but fair enough. More shocking was that the majority of my evaluators described my frequent pauses as thoughtful. What was sheer panic was largely perceived by my audience as calm control, or they were willing to put the best spin on it. I got an okay mark, so it would appear that even this assembly, stacked with smarty-pantses, was willing to work to understand my message and could sympathize with a young person who was obviously nervous. Caring audiences are not just found at home. Years later, a lab-mate of mine gave a talk at an international meeting. She always put awesome hours of preparation into her talks. Although, to see her present was like visiting Disney’s Hall of Presidents. Like an automaton, she would appear to rise slowly from beneath the stage and then would begin human enough looking head and hand movements while unerringly running through her very formal monologue. But, during this presentation something jammed a cog in her works and she stumbled on the word “phylogeneticist” and then blurted out loudly “I screwed up!”. She then continued with her script, took questions and left the stage. I caught up with her a little later, she had clearly had had a cry, she is not the robot you see on stage. While we chatted several strangers interrupted us to tell her how much they appreciated her presentation. One woman went so far as to say it was the best presentation of the meeting; no small praise, we were in the third day of the conference program of about 1000 talks. Every audience is filled with these wonderful people. Yes, there are a few sociopaths out there, but they are hugely outnumbered and you can count on the rest of us to understand what you are going through and to pull you along.

 

Back to my undergrad presentation, the other positive comment from my assessors was how well I handled their questions. In Steven Pinker’s book, The Sense of Style, there is a chapter called The Curse of Knowledge. He argues that painfully unintelligible writing arises from the author failing to imagine “what it’s like for someone else not to know something that [they] know”. I did that with this talk. I failed to realize that no one in that room was there on the tundra with me, nor had anyone else been to the arctic at all. The questions were simple, and now I can see how I had motivated them. I have come to really look forward to questions (I would rather cut short my presentation than to miss hearing from the audience), they are the best indication to me of how well my message came through, and it’s a small disaster when I get no questions at all.

 

In summary, my group emotionally support each other (I get support too), we focus and refine our talk messages, we take risks by exploring new ways to communicate those messages, we think about our audience’s perspective and we count on empathy from those audiences. If some scientific society wants to give one of us a cheque, then the drinks are on the winner.

The author’s graduate student, Holly Caravan, captured in mid-presentation at the ESCJAM 2015 in Montreal. Holly was selected to present in the Graduate Student Showcase. (photo by Sean McCann)

The author’s graduate student, Holly Caravan, captured in mid-presentation at the ESCJAM 2015 in Montreal. Holly was selected to present in the Graduate Student Showcase. (photo by Sean McCann)

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ESC/SEQ JAM 2015 in Montreal

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This past weekend marked the beginning of the Entomological Society of Canada and the Société d’entomologie du Québec’s Joint Annual Meeting in Montreal. This three day event brought together a large number of insect researchers and insect enthusiasts from all across Canada. This was my second ESC/SEQ meeting in Montreal, and the second since I have been a student. As a blog administrator, I got a bit of an inside look at the current issues facing the society at the meeting of the ESC board meeting, which will be the subject of future posts. I also got quite a few bedbug bites from staying in a cheap hostel the night of the board meeting, but that is another, and terrible story.

Anyway, of course I brought my camera, and so here I give you the conference from my perspective.

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Here is the board meeting, which was also being shot by Louise Hénault-Ethier.

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On the opening day, the Gold Medal address was delivered by Jon Sweeney, reflecting mainly on his collaborators over the years and how the have helped shape his stellar career in entomology.

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Guy Boivin delivered the Heritage Lecture, which was an awesome mix of First Nations insect lore, followed by the early natural historians of New France. I learned quite a bit from this, and I hope Guy may write some more on the subject for the Canadian Entomologist.

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Sunday’s plenary session featured Marcel Dicke from Wageningen University, and was an absolutely fascinating story about herbivores, parasitoids and hyperparistitoids on mustards. The interactions he described kind of blew my mind.

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The first talk of the Graduate Student’s Showcase was by Christina Hodson from UVic. She described her work on a charismatic little psocopteran and its weird sex distorting elements.

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Holly Caravan of Memorial University delivering her lecture on fascinating social aphids, with some great background on other social insects.

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Jean-Philippe Parent of Université de. Montréal gave a riveting lecture on how to determine if an insect can measure time.

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Leanna Lachowsky of University of Calgary with a topic near and dear to those of of from the west: mountain pine beetle! This was a cool study on sex allocation in this troublesome forest pest.

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And finally, Paul Abram from Université de Montréal on stinkbugs and their parasitoids.

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After the great opening sessions, we all repaired to the Insectarium to enjoy drinks in the company of our favourite colleagues and study subjects!

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If you ever try photographing people in this space, you will quickly learn how much colour casts arise from the brightly painted walls. I did manage to capture this one of Louise as many of you will remember her, behind the camera!

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I caught this one of Cedric on the bus back from the Insectarium

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Big thanks to Sarah Loboda and Maxime Larivée for running so much behind the scenes. They provided to me my favourite shot of the conference as well! Not sure how they kept their wits about them, but I think it was because they both have such a good sense of humour.

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Monday’s plenary was delivered by Jessica Forrest, from University of Ottawa, talking about a whole range of issues with a population of montane bees in Colorado.

From here on, my trajectory through the conference will probably differ substantially from yours. I of course needed to attend the sessions in which my former labmates were giving talks, but even so I did not manage to catch them all! I present to you instead a slideshow of images that I took during the conference. I will say how impressed I was by the student presentations this year in the GSS and the President’s Prize sessions. ESC students are really on the ball at how to give effective talks, and I hope that the more senior among us are paying attention! Perhaps in 2017 we can have a Student’s Prize to award to the best regular session talk!



















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Announcement – ESC-SEQ JAM 2015!

ESCQueJAM

The Entomological Society of Canada  and the Société d’entomologie du Québec are pleased to invite the entomological community to the 2015 Joint Annual Meeting in Montréal, Québec. The conference will take place from 8th to 11th November, and includes a range of symposia and associated events under the meeting’s theme : Entomology in the Anthropocene.

The plenary symposium is designed to provide a provocative overview of the challenges related to entomology in the Anthropocene. Plenary speakers include Dr. May Berenbaum (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Dr. Jessica Hellmann (University of Notre Dame), and Dr. Marcel Dicke (Wageningen University).

The Entomological Society of Canada and the Société d’Entomologie du Québec invite proposals for symposium sessions at the 2015 Joint Annual Meeting (JAM). We invite timely and well organised submissions from across the breadth of entomological science. We are particularly enthusiastic about symposia that are aligned with our 2015 meeting theme “Insects in the Anthropocene.” Deadline for symposium submission is the 28th February. See the webpage Call for symposia.

Sunday Nov. 8th, 7-10pm; Eat, drink and mingle with new and old friends at the ESC-ESS JAM Opening Reception at the Montréal Insectarium. Entomophagous appetizers will be served.

For more information, please visit our website, join us on Facebook and on Twitter using the hashtag #ESCJAM2015.

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Bringing Canada to the International Congress of Entomology 2016

Call for an ESC symposium at the International Congress of Entomology in Orlando 2016

The ESC Ad Hoc Committee for the International Congress of Entomology, chaired by Murray Isman, is inviting proposals for a Canadian-focussed symposium at ICE. This should be a showcase for an area of entomology in which Canada has a special strength but which would also be of interest to an international audience. Symposium submissions should fit into one of the section topics for ICE, and are due by March 2 2015. Details of the information needed to submit a Symposium proposal can be found at http://ice2016orlando.org/preview-symposium/. Anyone wishing to submit a proposal should contact the Secretary, Alec McClay at secretary@esc-sec.ca, as soon as possible, with details of their proposed topic area and potential speakers. The Executive will review proposals and select one to be developed for submission. Some financial support may be available from ESC for the selected symposium. You can also advise us if you have already submitted a symposium proposal and wish to have it considered as the ESC symposium.

Appel à soumission pour un symposium de la SEC au Congrès international d’entomologie (ICE) 2016 à Orlando

Le comité Ad Hoc de la SEC pour l’ICE, présidé par Murray Isman, invite les soumissions pour un symposium d’intérêt canadien à l’ICE. Il s’agira d’une vitrine pour un domaine de l’entomologie dans lequel le Canada est spécialement fort, mais qui pourrait être d’intérêt pour une audience internationale. Les soumissions de symposium devraient pouvoir être liées à un des thèmes de l’ICE, et sont attendues pour le 2 mars 2015. Les détails sur l’information requise pour soumettre une proposition de symposium se trouvent sur http://ice2016orlando.org/preview-symposium/. Toute personne désirant soumettre une proposition doit contacter le secrétaire, Alec McClay, à secretary@esc-sec.ca, le plus tôt possible, avec les détails du sujet proposé et les conférenciers potentiels. Le conseil exécutif va réviser les propositions et en sélectionner une qui sera développée pour être soumise. Un soutien financier pourrait être disponible de la SEC pour le symposium choisi. Vous pouvez également nous aviser si vous avez déjà soumis une proposition de symposium et que vous voudriez qu’elle soit considérée pour le symposium de la SEC.

Alec McClay, Ph.D.
Secretary, Entomological Society of Canada