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XXIV International Congress of Entomology

Present a paper at the XXIV International Congress of Entomology

My participation at the Congress was greater than originally planned.
I was an invited speaker in the International Organization for Biological Control-sponsored symposium on “Biological control:
benefit sharing and the balance between benefits and risks” The paper was “Climate and biological control: state of knowledge, risks and opportunities’  and my co-authors were Matthew Cock CABI UK, and Dave Gillespie Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. This paper arose from collaboration with CABI that came about through my MAF Policy-funded climate change work with Plant & Food, AgResearch, Scion and Landcare Research.
I was session chair and opening speaker for the symposium “Ecological attributes of invasive alien species”.  The paper was “Biological attributes contributing to the invasiveness of Sitona lepidus in New Zealand and the success of its introduced biological control agent Microctonus aethiopoides” with co-authors Colin Ferguson, Scott Hardwick, Mark McNeill and Craig Phillips, also of AgResearch.
I was able to meet with researchers whose work I’ve cited and have already had follow-up emails to exchange information/ideas. Previously I have had limited opportunity to personally meet and build relationships with northern hemisphere researchers and these international contacts will improve my ability to gain and contribute knowledge to our local biological control community.  This will help provide and maintain robust NZ biocontrol systems for the benefit of NZ growers. 


It was evident from the discussions following my papers that New Zealand is very well regarded for our biological control research, from risk assessments to effective integrated pest management. 
I was impressed with the accuracy and rapidity of metabarcoding for arthropod biodiversity assessments from bulk samples. Compared with traditional methods, it seems to be an increasingly cost-effective way of monitoring invertebrate community composition. While dependent on comprehensive taxonomic reference libraries, I see great data potential for assessing and monitoring pest management systems.