Entomology & Society News
ESO Award Winners: 2013!
Biodiversity of wild bees in two urban settings: Montreal and Quebec city (E. Normandin,V. Fournier, C. Buddle; oral presentation)
Etienne has been passionate about entomology since he was young. He has a DES in bioecology, a bachelor’s degree in biology (UQÀM) and he’s now a M.Sc candidate at Laval University (Valérie Fournier) co-supervised by Chris Buddle at McGill university. Etienne is involved in many projects and he is vice-president of the amateur entomologist association of Quebec. His first conference in 2008 was on wild bee ecology and he’s now working on the biodiversity of wild bees and syrphid flies in two urban settings : Montreal and Quebec city. The important data set he got by collecting in both cities has updated the species list for the province of Quebec and should give a better understanding of wild bees patterns of distribution in cities.
Behaviour and Biological Control Session
Web reduction in black widows: a story of attraction, courtship, manipulation, and rivalry
(C. Scott, D. Kirk, S. McCann, G. Gries; oral presentation)
Catherine has a BSc from Queen's University and is currently doing my MSc at SFU with Gerhard Gries, studying courtship behaviour and sexual communication in western black widows (Latrodectus hesperus).
Western black widow females attract males with a silk-borne sex pheromone. During courtship, males often engage in ‘web-reduction’, dismantling and bundling up parts of the female’s web. We present data from a field experiment demonstrating that web-reduction functions to decrease web attractiveness, thereby limiting the arrival of male competitors.
Physiology and Molecular Biology Session
Population genomics of the honey bee (Apis mellifera): adaptation on worker traits (B.A. Harpur, C.F. Kent, D. Molodtsova, J.M.D. Lebon, A.S. Alqarni, A.A. Owayss, A. Zayed; oral presentation)
Brock is currently a PhD student at York University where he studies honey bee genomics with Dr.
Amro Zayed. Brock comes to Ontario from British Columbia, where he did his undergraduate degree at the University of Northern British Columbia, working with Dr. Staffan Lindgren. My talk presented the first data coming out of the honey bee population genomics database created by the Zayed Lab. We have recently re-sequenced the genomes of 50 honey bees from their major population groups and the presentation explored how genes involved in worker traits evolve relative to genes involved in queen traits.
Agriculture and Biological Control Session
Field edge planting to deter white-tailed deer and attract carabid beetles (A. Mullins, C. Cutler, N. McLean; oral presentation)
Ashley is currently working toward finishing her MSc thesis at Dalhousie Agricultural Campus in Truro, NS, she plans to be finished by April 2014. She has a BSc Agr (with honours) from Dalhousie Ag Campus. She is also a full-time agricultural technician for the Dept of Natural Resources in St John's, NL working on nuclear seed potato propagation. The work presented at the conference was an overview of my MSc project: using field-edge\planting in soybean fields to deter deer from consuming the cash crop while concurrently encouraging predatory carabid beetles to enter the crop field. In short, the stats showed that the soybean plants adjacent to perimeter plantings (alfalfa, red clover and orchard grass) had less deer consumption damage and also higher numbers of carabid beetle than areas of soybean without perimeter planting. I think this shows that the field-edge planting can act as a trap crop, or push-pull tactic, for minimizing deer consumption as well as a wildlife corridor to bring in carabid beetles for potential insect pest control.
Grant L. Olsen
Transgenerational effects on disease resistance in tent caterpillars (G.L. Olson, J.H. Myers, J.S. Cory; oral presentation)
Grant earned his BSc in Marine Science at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL in May of 2008. He expects to complete his MSc in Biology from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC in March of 2014.
Transgenerational effects act as important nongenetic determinants of offspring condition. In insects, transgenerational effects can influence many fitness-related aspects, including life history, fecundity, and disease resistance. We explored environmental aspects of transgenerational disease resistance in the western tent caterpillar, an outbreaking herbivore species that suffers viral epizootics every 6-10 years. We hypothesized that density-related environmental factors may cause transgenerational effects, altering offspring disease resistance. We tested the effects of transgenerational plant induction and phylloplane bacteria on the condition and disease resistance of offspring. This study marks the first known example of transgenerational effects of plant induction on disease resistance. This study suggests that environmental stressors in the parental generation, such as plant induction, may lead to higher levels of offspring disease resistance.
Paul K. Abram
Agriculture and Forestry Poster Session
Conditional egg colouration by a predatory stink bug (P.K. Abram, M.-L. Després- Einspenner, J. Brodeur, G. Boivin; poster presentation)
Paul is currently a PhD student in the department of biological sciences at the Université de Montréal, co-supervised by Jacques Brodeur (UdeM) and Guy Boivin (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada). He completed his master's degree at Carleton University in Ottawa, and his undergraduate at Queen's in Kingston. His research interests primarily focus on the behavioural ecology of insect parasitoids and its application to biological control. The work I presented in my poster at the ESO/ ESC JAM in Guelph was an experiment that I initiated from personal interest, after I noticed that one of the stink bugs I am working with (the spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris) lays eggs of different colours, from pale green to almost black. By keeping bugs in petri dishes painted different colours, I found that individual females are capable of changing the colour of the eggs they lay depending on where they are laying - they lay darker eggs in black petri dishes than in white petri dishes, and individual females in petri dishes painted half black/half white changed the colour of their eggs depending on where they laid. My working hypotheses are that this plasticity in egg colouration could function for either for thermoregulation or camouflage in habitats with different light levels (sunny vs. shady) or differently coloured oviposition substrates.
Non Agricultural /Non Forestry Poster Session
Honey bees (Apis mellifera) pack thrips (Thysanoptera) into pollen pellets while foraging (D. Wiens, A.R. Davis; poster presentation)
Daniel is currently a M.Sc. student at the University of Saskatchewan, where he's studying the insects associated withVicia faba (faba beans). Previously, he completed a B.Sc. in Biology at the UofS. Pellets of pollen collected by honey bees have been found to occasionally contain a variety of other biological materials, including small arthropods such as thrips. To investigate if thrips could potentially serve as an alternate food source to honey bees, we determined the frequency of thrips found in pellets of borage (Borago officinalis L.) and Brassica spp. compared to that of borage and canola (Brassica napus L.) flowers. The frequency of thrips in flowers compared to pollen pellets was 55 times greater for B. napus, and 500 times greater for borage. Since many flowers are visited to form a single load of pollen, the results suggest that honey bees pack thrips into pollen pellets \ incidentally, rather than purposefully.
President’s Prize winners & runners-up (from left to right): Daniel Wiens, Brock Harpur, Raphael Royauté,
Etienne Normandin, Dorothy Maguire, Catherine Scott, Grant Olsen, Ashley Mullins, Bryan Brunet, Paul Abrams, Maryam Sultan. Photo: Rick West