Registration is still open for Entomological Collections Network 2020, airing live November 9-10th (08:00PST/16:00UTC). Registration is very affordable to reflect our low costs this year, and space is still open for virtual posters! (submission deadline of September 18th) Please visit our website for more information, or contact Chris Grinter (cgrinter@calacademy.org).

Submissions are open for Entomology 2020, the Entomological Society of America’s Virtual Annual Meeting. Submit your 10-minute paper, poster, infographic, or student competition presentation or poster now through ESA’s new virtual platform. When you submit to Entomology 2020, you also receive access to four days of live-streamed content and two weeks of on-demand access at no additional cost to you—you are automatically registered when you submit. Submissions are due by August 31Learn more and submit.

About Entomology 2020: ESA’s Annual Meeting, Entomology 2020, will go fully virtual this November, embracing the spirit of Entomology for All—where all entomologists can participate, regardless of location, specialty, or ability to travel. Presenters and attendees at Entomology 2020 will receive access to four days of live-streamed content Nov. 16-19 and two weeks of on-demand content from Nov. 11-25.

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

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.

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.

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

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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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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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)