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Chris Buddle, Editor-in-Chief, The Canadian Entomologist
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I’ve been involved with the Entomological Society of Canada for a long time.  It’s a wonderful community of Canadian entomologists sharing an interest and enthusiasm for arthropods. The ESC’s activities are mostly centered around  its annual conference, its range of publications, and it offers a suite of awards and scholarships.  The society’s website also hosts career opportunities, photo contests, and a range of other rich and varied entomological content. The latest, big news for the society is that on 1 June, the ESC officially launched its own blog.  This blog was the brainchild of a few members of the society.

So…why does a scientific society need a blog?  What’s the benefit to members of the society, to the society itself, and what’s the benefit for the broader entomological community?  Here are some thoughts about this:

1) Visibility:  it’s a tough time for scientific societies – funding is tight, and for a lot of people, the value of memberships to societies may seem less important than it once was.  Therefore, increased visibility though an on-line presence is important. A static website is essential, but a blog has a fluidity and dynamic presence that is hard to match with a website.  An active blog with well-written and interesting content will do a lot to increase a society’s visibility.  The visibility from an active blog is also global in its reach.

2) Opportunities to contribute:  the ESC blog will have dozens of contributors – means anybody with an interest in entomology (regardless of their profession and educational background) has an opportunity to write something for a broader audience.  Blog posts are often easier to write, they are shorter than research papers, and the content need not be vetted through a peer-review process.  It’s a forum for creative ideas, stories, photographs, and fun facts about insects.  The blog already has a couple of nice examples to illustrate this point.  For example, Chris Cloutier, a naturalist at the Morgan Arboretum on the Island of Montreal, just wrote a lovely post about the Hackberry Emperor.  Chris is an example of a different kind of entomologist – he’s not a research scientist, nor is his primary profession Entomology.  However, he does outreach, has a wealth of expertise and  talent, and he has a lot to offer the entomological community.  These kind of opportunities create an environment of inclusion for a society – members have a voice and can share their ideas and expertise.  Non-members can also contribute and recognize that there is a strong community associated with the ESC (…and perhaps some of the non-members will see the value of the society and join).

3) Economics: more than ever before, scientific societies are struggling to maintain members, and balance their books.  A blog is a cheap and effective way to promote their science to the world and the cost can be as little as a domain name.  I can think of no other method by which a society can promote itself at this cost point.  You could even argue that the time for static websites may be coming to a close since they are costly to host, require people with specific technical skills, and require a lot of back-end support.  The good blog sites can be administered by people with relatively few of these skills (I’m proof of that!!).

4) Marketing and branding:  a high quality blog helps a society get its brand to a broad audience, and helps to market the society to the world.   The ESC has a long and wonderful history, but its main audience over the years has mostly been academics, research scientists, and students of entomology.   The ESC brand has excellence and quality behind it and that kind of brand should be shared, expanded, and through this process, the society will hopefully gain positive exposure and more members.

5) Communication: At the end of the day, knowledge is something to be shared.  Scientific communication is a fast-changing field and one that is making all of us reconsider how we talk and write about our interests.   I think we all have a responsibility to do outreach.  There is so much mis-information out on the Internet, and people with specialized and well-honed skills must be heard and must have a means to share accurate information in a clear and effective manner – e.g., a society blog. I also think many entomologist are perfectly positioned to do effective outreach (I’ve written about this before).  Part of the ESC’s mandate is dissemination of knowledge about insects and social media is a key piece of any communication strategy.

What do you think?  Can you think of other reasons why scientific societies need to embrace social media?  Please share your ideas!

I will finish with a stronger statement:  scientific societies are perfectly positioned to have the BEST blogs on the Internet.  A scientific society is a community, a community with history, and a community built on high level of expertise.  A scientific society also provides a structure and framework for bringing together high quality knowledge about a particular topic.  A blog can be amazingly strong with this kind of support.  A society is also about people and these people work tirelessly behind the scenes to facilitate the dissemination of high quality content.   These people, structured in committees, and with oversight from an executive committee, can provide tangible support that will help to keep a blog from becoming unidimensional.  The ESC’s blog administrators (Crystal and Morgan) know how to keep the content of high quality, and know how to put all the pieces together – and they know they can do this because they have an entire community behind them.  The society is committed to supporting the blog and for that reason, there is reason to be optimistic about its long-term success.

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Originally posted at: http://arthropodecology.com/2012/06/13/why-a-scientific-society-needs-a-blog/

Time to meet another ESC Blog Admin, but first an update.

The ESC Blog has been going strong all summer, and is quickly becoming established within the “Bug-o-Sphere”; sometime today we’ll hit a total of 5,000 visits from 85 different countries, just 2.5 months after launching! For comparison, that’s about half the number of athletes and the same number of nations that took home at least one medal from the 2012 Summer Olympics! None of this would be possible without the support of the entomologists and insect enthusiasts from across the country who have taken the time to share a story, advice, or a snapshot of their research with us.

As the insect season starts to wind down and the entomology conference season approaches, we encourage you to share your favourite photos, stories from the field, or even introduce yourself, your work or your lab to the world. Feel free to email us at entsoccanada@gmail.com with your ideas and stories because we can’t wait to hear from you!

As the ESC Blog Admins, we figured we’d break the ice and tell you a little bit about ourselves before we start bugging each of you to do the same. You met Crystal last month, so I guess it’s time you got to know me, Morgan.

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Morgan D. Jackson Self PortraitGrowing up in a semi-rural, mid-sized city with a strong interest in zoology, I went to the University of Guelph with the intention of becoming a veterinarian, which, other than farming, was the only career I was exposed to in which I’d get to work with animals. By my second year at university I realized there were way more options for an animal geek like myself, so I took as many zoology courses as I could fit into my schedule.

In my third year I signed up for an insect diversity & natural history course on a whim, and the rest, as they say, is history. Of course I had known about insects before this course, but I hadn’t taken the time to look at them closely, to realize the many ways in which they had evolved to survive, the morphological differences that revealed whether a species was the diner or the dinner, or even realized the shear number of species that had literally been around me my entire life! It was like I had stumbled into a secret world that hardly anyone else knew about, but which was filled with so much to discover that I knew I could never look away again.

This first entomology course also taught me how many insects were out there waiting to be discovered, named, and placed onto the tree of life. The prospect of travelling and exploring the world, catching flies, and then being the one to give them names captured my imagination, and when I realized I could actually get paid to do all this, I joined Dr. Stephen Marshall’s lab and started my career as an insect taxonomist.

Working with Steve at the University of Guelph Insect Collection, I completed my Masters of Science last year studying the taxonomy and phylogenetics of stilt-legged flies (family Micropezidae), and I’ll soon be starting my PhD to continue my work on this group.

When I’m not working with flies, I spend my time promoting entomology and trying to make the world’s insect fauna more accessible to the public. I’m the technical editor for the Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification, an ESC journal developed to publish illustrated keys for insects and other arthropods, and am a co-author on a soon-to-be-released field guide to Northeastern Jewel beetles (family Buprestidae). I developed an interest in macro photography in 2007 (working with Steve I suspect this was probably inevitable) so I could show my friends and family why I thought insects were so cool, and in 2010 I started my blog, Biodiversity in Focus, to share my passion for entomology even further afield. Like Crystal, I feel that social media has the potential to revolutionize not only the way in which scientists go about their day-to-day research, but also their interactions with each other and the public.

And this is why I think the ESC Blog is such a great resource for entomology in Canada. With the support of the Entomological Society of Canada and researchers from across the country, we can raise awareness about insect-related issues, share exciting research being done in Canadian labs, and expose students to the many opportunities and careers in entomology. The Entomological Society of Canada is breaking new ground with its ESC Blog, and I’m proud to be associated with it.

Who knows, if the ESC Blog was around while I was growing up, I may have gotten a head start on my fly collecting!

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If you’re interested in learning more about my work, you can follow along on a variety of social media websites: TwitterGoogle+MendeleyYouTubeFourSquarePinterestProject Noah, and iNaturalist.

Chris Buddle, Editor-in-Chief, The Canadian Entomologist

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These days, scientific societies are struggling to maintain membership.  This is, in part, because the value of membership is not always apparent.  The Entomological Society of Canada has recognized this issue for years, but I believe we are starting to enter a new, exciting era for ESC members.   This will be especially apparent at the upcoming ESC Joint Annual Meeting (November 3-7,  2012) when the society will host its first hands-on “workshop”; this workshop is free for members of the society.  Let me repeat:  FREE for ESC members!  That is value for your membership.

There is, however, a catch:  you must register for this workshop in advance! 

Here are the details:

Workshop: “Perspectives on the Publication Process”

On Sunday November 4 from 9-12am, immediately before the start of 2012 Joint Annual Meeting in Edmonton, the Entomological Societies of Canada and Alberta are jointly hosting a workshop on the publication process at the JAM venue.  This goal of this workshop, focusing on Entomology in Canada, is to provide practical information and demystify the publication process from writing to reviewing to editing to publishing. This workshop is intended for anyone with an interest in the publication process, irrespective of career stage, experience, or age.

The workshop will start with four short and informative presentations

  1. Introduction, Chris Buddle, Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University & Editor-in-Chief, The Canadian Entomologist
  2. An Editor’s perspective on process and issues in publication, Mark Goettel, Editor-in-Chief,  Biocontrol Science and Technology
  3. Some basic rules for writing a manuscript, Jeremy McNeil, Department of Biology, University of Western Ontario
  4. A publisher’s perspective on current challenges and opportunities in scientific publishing, Jonathan Speilburg, Cambridge University Press

This will be followed by moderated break-out sessions on five topics (selected based on feedback from ESC members).  These sessions are meant to be informal and interactive.   Attendees will be able to attend two breakout sessions.

  • The Peer Review Process
  • Picking the Right Journal
  • Ethics, Authorship and Data
  • How to Review a Scientific Manuscript
  • Current Challenges in Scientific Publishing

The workshop will finish with take-home messages from each of the break-out sessions and with a panel discussion with the featured speakers.

Attendees MUST sign up for the workshop by ticking the correct box on the form when pre-registering for JAM

This is a first come, first serve event with limited space and it is filling up fast.  So if you want to attend, register soon! Registration will include a food break, and is free to ESC and ESAB members; $50 for non-members (to be paid at the workshop).

If you have any questions, you can contact members of the workshop organizing committee:

Chris Buddle (chris.buddle@mcgill.ca)

Kenna MacKenzie (Kenna.MacKenzie@agr.gc.ca)

Rosemarie De Clerck-Floate (Rosemarie.DeClerck-Floate@agr.gc.ca)

The votes are in, and the winning caption for photo 1 was “Think, think, what would a mantid do in this situation?” by Sam Droege! 5 points go to Sam, while Brian Cutting and Matt each get 3 for a 2nd place tie.

Here are the finalists for Photo 2:

ESC Caption C1 P2

ESC Caption Contest C1 P2 – Photo by Morgan Jackson

[polldaddy poll=6454511]

And here’s Photo 3 (courtesy of Sean McCann), just waiting for your best captions! (Rules)

Photo by Sean McCann

A few weeks ago, Rose De Clerke-Floate wrote a post about her experiences as the Chair of the ESC Achievement Awards Committee and announced the recipients of the Gold Medal and the C. Gordon Hewitt Award. Today, she announces additional honours bestowed upon more of our valued members.
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We applaud the following worthy members of the Entomological Society of Canada (ESC) whom are to be made Fellows of our Society in recognition of their major contributions to entomology.

Dr. Robb Bennett

Dr Robb Bennett is exemplary in his scientific contributions and dedicated service to entomology in Canada. As an entomologist with the British Columbia (B.C.) Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (1992-2010), he created and expanded a major research program in cone and seed pest management that had international collaborative spread and influence. His successful lobbying for provincial support garnered $400,000 in annual funding and the establishment of the Pest Management Technical Advisory Committee of the B.C. Forest Genetics Council, which he initially chaired (2003-2010). During this period, his participation was critical for ground-breaking research that produced the first ever description of a cecidomyiid fly pheromone (named “Bennettin” in recognition of his work), and the use of infrared radiation by a herbivore in host-finding (Leptoglossus occidentalis). Dr Bennett also is highly respected as one of Canada’s leading spider systematists, and has shared this expertise through volunteer curation of the spider collections at the Royal British Columbia Museum (Victoria), where he is a Research Associate, and the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes (Ottawa) (CNC). The results of his scientific efforts are 45 peer-reviewed papers, 44 technical publications, 3 on-line arthropod identification guides, and the mentoring of many undergraduate and graduate students. He also has been an active advocate in conservation entomology where he has volunteered on various committees as a Specialist, Member or Chair: for example, B.C. Ministry of Environment Invertebrates-at-Risk Team (2001-06), Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, Arthropods Specialists Subcommittee (2006-present). Of particular note have been his contributions to the ESC, for which he has served on several committees starting in 1998 and as Editor-in-Chief of The Canadian Entomologist (TCE) (2007-11). In the latter role, he is to be commended especially for elevating the quality of the journal, thereby setting a solid stage for its move to electronic publication and a new publisher.

Dr. Gary Gibson

Dr Gary Gibson is internationally respected for his research contributions in the taxonomy and systematics of the Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera), contributing significantly to our understanding of the evolution, morphology and systematics of this group of parasitoid wasps for over 30 years. During his productive career as a Research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Ottawa, the taxonomy of numerous chalcidoid taxa has been stabilized and unified for use by others, particularly those involved in pest management research. He has long been committed to providing taxonomic support in the identification of parasitoids for use as biological control agents against insect pests affecting some of Canada’s major agricultural industries (e.g., canola, dairy and beef). His publication record of 59 refereed papers, 19 books and book chapters, and numerous technology transfer articles, including on the internet, has allowed a broad outreach of his valuable research. Particularly notable is his leadership in being one of the first to develop web-based insect identification services.

Dr Gibson also is being recognized for his long-time dedicated service to entomology within AAFC and the ESC. He has served in various capacities to enhance the CNC and the CanaColl Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports visits by experts to curate portions of the CNC. In his 30+ years as an active member of the ESC, he has also served in a number of societal roles, including as Associate Editor of TCE (1990-95), Chair of the Finance Committee (1992-95), and Treasurer (1996-2004).

Dr. Neil Holliday

During his 35 year career as a faculty entomologist at the University of Manitoba (U of M), where he is currently an emeritus professor, Dr Neil Holliday has contributed significantly in the areas of crop protection and forest entomology research, entomology education, student mentorship and departmental and societal administration. His research interests and internationally-recognized contributions range from the population biology and ecology of carabid beetles and geometrid moths, the biodiversity of arthropods in natural and managed ecosystems, to the more applied studies of biological and cultural control of insect pests of forests and crops. The tangible output of his efforts has been 60 peer-reviewed papers and 82 other publications providing extension of his work to the scientific community, agricultural industry and public. He is particularly respected as a dedicated and hard-working educator, who has taught in 24 different university courses mostly in agricultural science and entomology, supervised or co-supervised 34 graduate students and 20 undergraduate student projects, and has earned 2 teaching awards (U of M; 1991, 2009). He has excelled at administrative tasks and his service on several ESC committees over the years has been greatly appreciated. He also served for 15 years at the U of M as Head of the only remaining Department of Entomology in Canada, during which time he led its rescue from near extinction. The Department has recently hired three entomology faculty members and an instructor, thereby adding new blood and a sense of optimism to the Canadian entomological community at large.  In recognition of his many outstanding contributions to Canadian entomology, Dr Holliday received the ESC’s Gold Medal in 2009.

CONTACT THE SOCIETY

Association Coordinator: info@esc-sec.ca

ESC President: ESCPresident@esc-sec.ca

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