January 21, 2016 was the 5th annual Entomology Symposium at Cornell University! The symposium serves as a venue for graduate students to present their work to their fellow colleagues, and this year it was organized and executed by Anyi Mazo-Vargas, Ethan Degner, Ashley Leach, and Kristen Brochu. Although the symposium included student research on all aspects of entomology, pollinator presentations comprised nearly one third of the talks, highlighting this vibrant and prosperous research area at Cornell University.
Two feature speakers who are doing exciting work on pollinators flanked the symposium. Cornell University's own research scientist Scott McArt started the day with a great talk on his projects that investigate the factors contributing to bumble bee and honey bee declines. Penn State University assistant professor Heather Hines finished the symposium by informing the audience on the genetics and evolution of mimetic coloration in bumble bees. Of course, the main players of the conference were graduate students. Several shared their research on bees:
- Laura Figueroa is a PhD student in Scott McArt’s lab and she revealed plant-pollinator networks that allow us to better understand pathogen transmission dynamics between bees.
- Mary Centrella, a PhD student in Bryan Danforth’s lab, shared her exciting work on how diet and pesticide variation in landscapes affects mason bee fitness.
- Heather Connelly, a PhD student in Greg Loeb’s lab, won the award for Best Student Presentation for her outstanding talk on how phylodiversity impacts pollination services in strawberry.
Overall it was a well-organized event with a great attendance and pollinator representation!
The complete symposium program can be downloaded here.
Photo from left to right: Laura Figueroa, Heather Connelly, Mary Centrella, and Heather Hines presenting their research at the Entomology Symposium.