Science Communication Plenary Presentations

Entomological research in India: Basic and applied research remain disconnected

Raghavendra Gadagkar, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India

Biography: Raghavendra Gadagkar over the past 35 years has established an active school of research in the origin and evolution of cooperation in animals, especially in social insects, such as ants, bees and wasps. By identifying and utilizing crucial elements in India’s biodiversity, he has added a special Indian flavour to his research. He has published over 250 research papers and articles and two books. His more technical book entitled ‘The Social Biology of Ropalidia’ (Harvard University Press, USA, 2001) summarizes over twenty years of his research aimed at understanding the evolution of eusociality. His other book entitled ‘Survival Strategies’ (Harvard University Press, USA, 1997), explains recent advances in behavioural ecology and sociobiology to a general audience.

Gadagkar is the past President of the Indian National Science Academy. He is also an elected fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, the Indian National Science Academy, the National Academy of Sciences, India, the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, the German National Science Academy Leopoldina, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Gadagkar is, or has been, a member of a number of national and international professional scientific bodies and government and non-government advisory committees including the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet, Government of India.

Communicating insect science in the UK

Francisca Sconce, Royal Entomological Society, London, United Kingdom

Biography: Dr. Francisca Sconce works in Outreach and Engagement at the Royal Entomological Society in the UK, this involves communicating insect science via interactive stands at events, writing articles for magazines and websites, posting on social media and workshops with school and college groups. Prior to the Society she did a PhD on Collembola and agricultural management at Harper Adams University and a Masters of Entomology at Imperial College London. Francisca will share her story of moving from academic research to science outreach and her motivation for sharing my passion for insects with the public.


Communicating the science behind mosquito bites in Australia:
Increasing awareness of public health risks and environmental conservation

Cameron Webb, NSW Health Pathology, Sydney, Australia; The University of Sydney, Westmead, Australia

Biography: Dr. Cameron Webb has over 20 years of experience in wrangling mosquitoes in the wetlands of coastal Australia. He provides professional advice to local, state, federal and international agencies on the ecologically sustainable management of pest and vector mosquitoes association with natural, rehabilitated and constructed wetlands. He is regularly called on by local media to provide commentary on breaking entomological research, epidemics of mosquito-borne disease and to enhance seasonal warnings from health authorities on avoiding mosquito bites. Why mosquitoes spread disease-causing pathogens and how best to safely and effectively prevent mosquito bites are commonly posed questions from the media and public to require a response and is undertaken in a way to provide “news you can use” in assisting the community reduce the public health risks associated with mosquitoes. Importantly, much of the discussion promoted by these interviews, in addition to Cameron’s social media activity and writing for a general public audience, delves into the ecological role of mosquitoes and their place in the Australian environment.

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