A couple of years ago, while attending a Royal Entomological Society Council meeting, I rashly volunteered to host ENTO’16, the annual meeting of the Society, at Harper Adams University*. I confess, I did have a bit of an ulterior motive. We entomologists had only been based at Harper Adams University since 2012 and I thought it would help with publicizing our new research centre and postgraduate courses in entomology and integrated pest management. Once this was approved by Council I let my colleagues know that I had ‘volunteered’ them and also approached entomologists at our two nearest universities, Keele and Staffordshire and invited them to join our organising committee. As this is about the event and not the administrivia, I will not bore you with the description of how it all came about, apart from mentioning that we chose as our theme, the Society journals to celebrate the 180th anniversary of RES publishing.
As a result of a poll of society members, we decided that the last day of the conference would be all about Outreach. The morning session was devoted to talks for the delegates and the afternoon was open to the public and members of the university. The Open session began with a talk by M.G. (Maya) Leonard, best-selling author of Beetle Boy, followed by exhibits and activities in the exhibition hall**. In the spirit of outreach, we also persuaded our three plenary speakers to agree to be videoed and livestreamed to YouTube. Their excellent talks can be seen by following the links below.
“How virulence proteins modulate plant processes to promote insect colonisation”
Saskia Hogenhout – John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK
“The scent of the fly”
Peter Witzgall – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
“Citizen Science and invasive species”
Helen Roy – Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford, UK
To make decision-making simple, we only ran two concurrent sessions, and hopefully this meant that most people did not have to miss any talks that they particularly wanted to hear. The conference proper began on the Tuesday, but about half the delegates arrived the evening before and enjoyed an entomologically-based Pub Quiz. The winning team perhaps had a slight
Preparing for the influx – student helpers in action
advantage in that most of their members were slightly older than average.
The winning Pub Quiz team sitting in the centre of the picture.
We felt that the conference went very well, with all the journals well represented, although getting systematic entomologists to speak proved slightly more difficult than we had anticipated. The student speakers were terrific and the talks covered the gamut of entomology. The venue, although I may be slightly biased, was agreed by all to be excellent and provided some superb photo opportunities.
Main venue glinting in the morning sun
Andy Salisbury enjoying the early morning view at Harper Adams University
The RES President, a very relaxed Mike Hassell, opens the proceedings.
Other highlights were the two wine receptions, the poster session and the conference dinner at which Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse, who apparently has an inordinate fondness for beetles, received an Honorary Fellowship.
Sir Paul Nurse on hearing that he is to receive an Honorary Fellowship.
The old cliché goes that a “picture paints a thousand words” and who I am to argue, so I will let them tell the rest of the story with the odd bit of help from me.
A fine example of synchronised beard pulling
All the way from Canada
Only at an entomological conference
Entomologically themed fashion
Bang-up to date topics
one of our former-MSc students making an impact
Impeccable dress sense from Session Chairs!
Prize winning talks
I was reminded by Jess that I scolded her for not knowing enough entomology when I conducted her exit viva in my role as external examiner for the zoology degree at UCL🙂
Proud to be Collembolaologists
Smiling faces (free drinks)
Good food and drink (and company)
Cavorting ceilidh dancers
Phone cases to be jealous of
Joining Darwin (and Sir Paul Nurse) in the book!
and for me a fantastic personal end to the conference!
As it turned out, 2016 was a fantastically entomologically-filled year for Harper Adams.
we hoste the RES Postgraduate Forum in February which I reported on earlier this year, and of course we also
hosted the fantastically successful EntoSci16.
The Organizing Committee
Andy Cherrill, John Dover (Staffordshire University), Rob Graham, Paul Eggleston (Keele University), Simon Leather, Tom Pope, Nicola Randall, Fran Sconce and Dave Skingsley (Staffordshire University).
The Happy Helpers
Ben Clunie, Liam Crowley, Scott Dwyer, Ana Natalio, Alice Mockford and Aidan Thomas
Harper Adams University and the Royal Entomological Society
Financial and Administrative Support
The Royal Entomological Society, Luke Tilley, Lisa Plant, Caroline Thacker and Megan Tucker.
Adreen Hart-Rule and the Marketing and Communications Department at HAU
Duncan Gunn-Russell and the HAU AV Team
*I am sure that this had nothing to do with the excellent wine that the RES always provides at lunch time🙂
**We were somewhat disappointed by the low turn-out for the afternoon session. We had publicised it widely but obviously not widely enough😦