Hello! My name is Siobhan and I am currently an entomologist in training. I have only quite recently become interested in the study of insects but I have a lot of passion for them and like to share what I’ve learnt so far with others. My favourite insects (as you probably guessed by the name of this blog) are aphids, with a recently developed love for thrips too. I also have a great fondness for flies, some of whom are the focus of my PhD!
It was around my second year of studying Zoology at Derby University when I first become interested in Entomology, before that I wanted to conserve all the cute, fluffy mammals that the public and media love so much. I had my eyes opened by a group of local entomologists called the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Entomological Society (DaNES). And I was also fortunate enough to have a resident Entomology Professor, Karim Vahed (cricket man) as well as the Head of Department, Andrew Ramsey (@doc_ramsey), who is very passionate about butterflies and had worked with aphids. I also should mention another lecturer, Debbie Alston (@Debbie1Alston), who encouraged me a lot during my time at university and introduced me to many of these people, without her I would have probably never met DaNES or come so far as an entomologist. I should also thank Dr Andy Chick (@DrNicrophorus), a (now former) PhD student and associate lecturer at Derby who has also helped me a lot during my journey. So, compared to some student entomologists I was gifted with numerous local individuals who went above and beyond to help me get my foot in this amazing field of work.
*Alex, myself and a handful of members of DaNES at the summer exhibition held at Shipley Park, Derbyshire.
So naturally as an insect lover and aphidologist in training my undergraduate dissertation was on testing for host plant resistance in a number of Brassica species against the cabbage aphid, Brevicoryne brassicae. Before Andrew had suggested doing this project I had never thought about studying aphids. But I’m glad he did as they are now the insects I have the most interest in! This also led to me doing an aphid based project during my MSc in Entomology at Harper Adams University with the awesome Prof Simon Leather (@EntoProf) as my supervisor. During my time at Harper Adams I learnt a lot of things about Entomology I hadn’t known before, and I got the chance to meet a lot of interesting and inspirational people who taught on the MSc. I got the chance to learn how to ID aphids under the guidance of Prof Keith Walters and Prof Simon Leather and we got the chance to meet the awesome team from the Natural History Museum, one of who inspired me to apply for my PhD!
I’m now doing my PhD at UEA, studying the population genetics and ecology of the mangold fly (aka the sugar beet leaf miners!). I’m looking forward to what’s to come and I’ll be keeping you updated on what I’m getting up to during my PhD and wider entomological activities through my blog 🙂
I hope you enjoy reading 🙂