After an outpouring of support from the Canadian entomological community, the Royal British Columbia Museum has decided to hire a new Curator of Entomology!

The competition for the Curator of Entomology position at the Royal BC Museum is now posted at Deadline for applications has been extended to 24 March.

The following post is by Chloe Gerak, a Masters student at UBC who completed an undergraduate project at Simon Fraser University in the Gries lab.This past weekend, she won the top prize for an undergraduate talk at the Annual General  Meeting of the Entomological Society of British Columbia with a talk entitled « How the false widow finds true love ». Photos by Sean McCann.


A male Steatoda grossa. These spiders have stereotyped courtship behaviour involving stridulation of an organ located dorsally between the cephalothorax and abdomen.

For approximately eight months, I studied the courtship behaviour and chemical communication between male and female false widow spiders, Steatoda grossa. Prior to studying them in Prof. Gerhard Gries’ lab at Simon Fraser University, I had never even heard of this species!


Female Steatoda grossa on her web.

My mentor Catherine Scott and I had collected juvenile and mature false widow spiders around the basement of the biology wing at SFU… and let’s just say we didn’t have a lack of specimens to collect. Almost every baseboard we turned over or corner we searched, we would find these little guys and collect them individually into petri dishes. These formed the nucleus of our laboratory colony which we reared for behavioural experiments.


A  common nickname for Steatoda grossa is the “cupboard spider,” which I find extremely appropriate considering these spiders seem to love dwelling in dark corners. Since they are so abundant around SFU, and I had never even seen one before this, I think people should not be frightened by cohabiting with them… likely, you won’t even know they are there!


As the new web editor of the Entomological Society of British Columbia (ESBC), last fall I began a push toward the digitization of all past issues of the Journal of the ESBC and the implementation of an online journal management system. At the time, only a relatively few issues of JESBC were available online, with only the most recent issues available as PDFs. None of these were easily searchable, nor were these issues indexed on our site, Google Scholar, or other search engines.

Over the years, each editor handled submissions in a slightly different way, via email (or post!), and copies of digital files were not retained by the society, but rather by individual editors. Additionally, we used an annual submission deadline, which resulted in annual “publication push” that resulted in a single “crunch time” leading up to year’s end.

It was with these limitations in mind that I spearheaded an effort to simplify the submission, editorial, and publication processes, and to provide truly open access to our entire journal archive in an effort to increase our journal’s profile, readership, and citations.

Over the past several months (and still ongoing), in conjunction with the SFU library and the Public Knowledge Project, the ESBC began our transition to our new online journal management system and the scanning and uploading of all volumes of the JESBC. Our choice of journal management system was based on several important criteria: cost, features, ease-of-use, robustness, “future-proofing”, and support.

In the interest of brevity, I won’t go into all of the details here, but from our choices of journal management systems, the clear winner was Open Journal Systems, which provides a low-cost, feature-rich, customizable, easy to use, well established, and open-source journal publishing platform. Moving to this new system allows us to easily publish using a continuous submission model, so that articles appear online as they are accepted for publication, as well as provide a streamlined publication work-flow and centralized database.

Screenshot of the new JESBC web site

Our new journal site is now up and running! Check out for complete open access to all articles, and stay tuned as more back issues of the society’s journal and quarterly bulletin archive are uploaded (going back to 1906!) and as we add DOI support and cross-referencing.

Our journal digitization effort is a huge project, and although we’ve made great headway, we could use your help (more on this soon)! We are looking for volunteers to assist with moving this content online to the new site. Contact Alex Chubaty (  if you are interested in contributing time towards this project.

Thank you!

Alex M. Chubaty

ESBC Web Editor

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