McDaniel seniors, alumni, and faculty present at the Entomology 2020 Virtual Meeting
McDaniel seniors Kaitlin Murphy and Anna Kuhn are presenting at the Entomological Society of America’s Entomology 2020 Virtual Meeting with presentations available to be viewed Nov. 11 through Nov. 25. Alumnae Jessica Wyatt ’20 and Suji Kim ’20 also participated as presenters for the event with Holly Martinson, assistant professor of Biology. The meeting features livestream sessions and symposia on Nov. 16, in addition to on-demand symposia, student competition, and 10-minute presentations, posters, and infographics.
Biology professor Holly Martinson put a bug in two seniors’ ears about an opportunity to keep their presentation skills on entomology in check – even virtually.
Entomology is the study of insects. Some insects are important to the environment, while others are known for being pests and invasive. McDaniel seniors Kaitlin Murphy and Anna Kuhn focused their research on these different types of insects.
Murphy and Kuhn have joined McDaniel alumnae Jessica Wyatt ’20 and Suji Kim ’20 as well as Martinson, assistant professor of Biology at McDaniel, in preparing presentations for the Entomological Society of America’s Entomology 2020 Virtual Meeting.
Murphy’s poster presentation, “Hoverfly happiness: Floral attributes and abundance influence the activity of Toxomerus marginatus in a Nutrient Network site” centered on research she conducted in the summer of 2019.
“I wanted to look at the interactions between pollinator activity and floral abundance and attributes,” Murphy said, noting that “a really active pollinator” was discovered – the hoverfly.
Utilizing data software, Murphy was able to determine the hoverfly’s importance to the field and pollination overall.
“Since the hoverfly activity suggested effective pollination, it shows that these non-bee pollinators are significant to pollination of these old fields,” said Murphy, a pre-med Biology major with minors in Chemistry and Psychology. “This is really useful information, considering we have been seeing an unfortunate decline of bee populations; so, there may be some hope that these other non-bee pollinators can help out in maintaining ecosystem functions.”
Kuhn’s presentation called "Predation of Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula)" also came from research conducted in the summer of 2019.
“Spotted lanternflies are invasive insects that have been destroying local agriculture in Pennsylvania since their identification in 2014, and we knew at the time (2019) that they would eventually spread to Maryland,” said Kuhn, a Biology and German Studies double major. “As of 2020, I have started finding lanternflies at my home in Harford County.”
Murphy said she is appreciative to still have ways like this to stay curious and conduct research, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am even more grateful that I can continue to present my research to other scholars, and this gives me practice for my future endeavors,” Murphy said. “Being a part of these research symposiums has been eye-opening and has definitely contributed to my love for science, research, and continuing education.”
The Entomology 2020 Virtual Meeting features livestream sessions and symposia on Nov. 16, in addition to on-demand symposia, student competition, and 10-minute presentations, posters, and infographics available to be viewed Nov. 11 through Nov. 25.
Participants from McDaniel uploaded their slides and posters and recorded an audio presentation to go along with the visuals, according to Martinson.
Going from an in-person presentation to a virtual environment prompted a few learning curves, Murphy said. With a virtual format, there was a time constraint of three minutes for Murphy to share about her poster and data.
Kuhn enjoyed the opportunity to pre-record the audio to make sure the presentation had a natural flow.
“It’s also awesome to see and hear any presentation I want to,” Kuhn said.
Kuhn and Kim are co-authors on each other’s posters that examined the dangers of the spotted lanternfly. Kuhn’s research focused on understanding their predator defenses, while Kim looked at understanding their ideal host plant. Kim’s presentation is called “Preferences of the invasive spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) among potential host plants.”
Wyatt has a 10-minute oral presentation entitled “Buzzing around a nutrient network site: Quantifying relationships between floral abundance, pollinator visitation, and herbivore exclusion.”
Martinson prepared an infographic poster on her work entitled “How urban forests shape arthropod communities: Essential roles for abiotic conditions and forest composition” for the virtual meeting.