Entomologist

Research and Development

Forensic entomologist

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Scientific or AnalyticSkill Level 5

An entomologist is a scientist who studies insects. Entomologists have many important jobs, such as the study of the classification, life cycle, distribution, physiology, behavior, ecology and FutureGrowthModerate population dynamics of insects. Entomologists also study urban pests, forest pests, agricultural pests and medical and veterinary pests and their control. These scientists may work with beneficial insects like honeybees, silkworms, ladybird beetles and parasitic wasps. Entomologists are researchers, teachers and consultants and can work for private companies, universities or government agencies.

Examining Butterfly

Professional Entomologists can be employed to teach about insects; work as extension entomologists (public educators who provide information on insects and their management in agricultural and urban environments); raise bees; enforce quarantines and regulations; perform insect survey work; consult on integrated pest management topics; sell insecticides; control pests; and conduct research on insect classification, taxonomy, biology, ecology, behavior and control. The greatest number of entomologists are employed in some aspect of economic or applied entomology that deals with the control of harmful insects. There also are tens of thousands of amateur entomologists and hobbyists who study insects without pay and who provide valuable information on insect distributions, seasonal activity patterns, identification, life cycles and behavior.

Entomology careers in research involve studying and understanding the anatomy, habits, life histories, physiology and classification of insects and investigating various types of chemical and biological controls. Increasingly, basic information is required to supply answers to complex questions and problems involving insects.

In the field

Many entomologists are involved with research in integrated pest management [IPM]. IPM uses all suitable pest control techniques to keep pests below economically injurious levels. Each pest control technique must be designed carefully so it is environmentally sound and is compatible with producer and user objectives. But IPM is more than chemical pesticide management — it also includes biological, cultural and sanitary control practices. Once sound, reliable information on insect control is gathered from research, the results are given to farmers and other people who deal with insect pests.

Examining a tick

Many entomologists work for government agencies. For example, Regulatory Entomologists help prevent the entrance of harmful, destructive pests from foreign countries. Both federal and state governments have set up plant and animal quarantine agencies. All plants, fruits, vegetables, artifacts, baggage and animals are examined at international ports of entry, and these inspections are performed under the supervision of trained entomologists and other scientists. Entomologists also impose strict quarantines in areas where introduced insects have established a foothold. In some cases, roadblocks and inspection stations are erected to prevent the spread of pests. Most states have laws and regulations requiring the inspection of nursery stock, many types of agricultural produce, logs and bee hives. Many states also have laws regulating the activities of pest control operators (exterminators) and pesticide applicators. Entomologists help enforce those important laws and provide technical information and counsel for those in this type of insect control work.

Materials sourced from the About BioScience

Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service

Read about the current pests of plants: Asian gypsy moth; Asian longhorn beetle; Exotic fruit flies; and, Khapra beetle.


AQIS


Graduates who have studied entomology at university level will be well prepared to work with insects and arachnids important in human affairs. Potential employers include institutions such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), State Departments of Agriculture, Health, Environment, Conservation and Land Management, and Quarantine. Urban pest control companies, manufacturers of agricultural and veterinary insecticides and biological control companies also employ entomologists.

Universities are also significant employers of graduates with entomology training because this branch of biology is significant in many disciplines including ecology and evolutionary biology, genetics, veterinary, agricultural and medical fields. Entomology can be useful for teachers seeking employment in schools, employment as advisors and trainers in larger urban pest control companies, and advisers in pest control in agricultural and veterinary settings. Entomologists also work as consultants to the agricultural, natural resources and mining sectors. A knowledge of entomology is especially useful for environmental impact studies because insects are important bio-indicators.

Industry

Crop monitoring and Integrated Pest Management IPM companies employ entomologists as “crop scouts” to identify pests in crops and provide recommendations for management. They may also give workshops to growers to teach them about IPM approaches and also conduct research towards the development of economic thresholds for pest insects in a variety of commodities.

Biological Control

Entomologists are employed in the biological control industry to rear and release biological control agents primarily for growers.

Urban Pest Control

Research and development companies interested in products for pest control in urban environments often employ entomologists as part of teams to develop effective approaches to prevention and control of pest establishment in urban structures. Pest control operators may also employ entomologists to assist in the accurate identification of insect pests and recommend ways to manage pests.

Pesticide Industry

Entomologists are employed by the pesticide industry to help develop and test new insecticidal products through laboratory, glasshouse, and field bioassays.

Government
  

Department of Defence
The Australian Defence Force employs entomologists whose role is to protect its personnel against vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and encephalitis. The Australian Army Malaria Institute carries out surveillance and control of insects, as well as evaluation of repellents and development of drug resistance.

Army Malaria Institute
Australian Army Malaria Institute

"Primarily focused on malaria, AMI has recently broadened its interests to include the arboviruses, particularly dengue and Japanese encephalitis."
(Source:
Australian Biotechnology)


Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Australia’s biosecurity is taking on a higher priority and the demand for entomologists in this sector is increasing. The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) is Australia’s front-line against pest invasions. AQIS staff carry out monitoring for accidental incursions and maintain stringent inspections for importation of products from overseas. Staff in Biosecurity Australia are involved in assessing the pest-related risks associated with importations of new products and the exportation of Australian products.

CSIRO
CSIRO is Australia’s premier government research agency. The entomology division,
CSIRO Entomology, employs research scientists and technicians and has research stations throughout Australia and internationally.

Entomology CSIRO

The Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC), based in Canberra, is a substantial record of Australia’s insect biodiversity, maintained by CSIRO. Curators of the different sections are world experts in their area of expertise. A number of postgraduate research projects are based on collaborations between CSIRO researchers and universities.

ANIC



Research & Education

Zoos
Many public and private zoos feature insects. These employ technical assistants who assist with rearing and teach the public all about insects.

Museums
Many museums around Australia employ professional entomologists to curate their extensive insect collections and conduct research on the insect evolution, biology and ecology. Some entomologists who work at museums also provide information to the public about insect identification and biology.

Botanical Gardens
Insects are pests of many plants, so botanic gardens employ entomologists who have a broad understanding of insect biology and ways to manage insect pests. Some entomologists who work at botanic gardens also provide information to the public about garden pests.


Insect Education Companies
There are several insect education companies in Australia. Typically they are small businesses that are run by biologists who have a passion for insects and who enjoy using them in teaching in schools.

Academic Institutions
Many universities around Australia employ entomologists with various levels of education. They are involved in teaching about insects and conducting research on all aspects of insect biology. Because insects have short generation times and can be reared in large numbers, they are often used as model organisms in genetics and other biological disciplines. Insects have been also used as biological models for robotics and machine vision.

Landline July 2020
They may be small, but ticks are a huge expense for the cattle industry. The parasite causes loss of condition to the animal, illness and sometimes death.
A Queensland scientist has spent 15 years trying to crack the code for a vaccine and early results are promising.

(Source: Landline 25 July 2020)

 

 

Forensic Entomologist
Research and Development


Scientific or AnalyticSkill Level 5Skill Level 6

Forensic entomologists are scientists who help solve forensic investigations by studying the life cycle of insects and arthropods found on dead bodies to determine how long a person has been  dead. They work primarily on cases of murder and death, estimating time and location of death by observing insect colonization on the body. By determining the time of death, forensic FutureGrowthModerate entomologists play an important role in helping other forensic scientists reconstruct the events leading up to a person's death, thereby helping to solve the case. Forensic entomologists are often employed by academic institutions rather than by law enforcement agencies. Forensic entomologists usually hold a Ph.D. in entomology, though a master's degree may be efficient.


The main job duty of forensic entomologists is to find the post-mortem interval (PMI), which is the minimum amount of time for which someone could have been dead. To do this, they examine the species, ages and colony composition of the insects and arthropods found on the body. They may examine the body at the crime scene or conduct a post-mortem examination. They may also be given specimens or photographs taken by police to examine or visit the crime scene to search for clues.

Forensic entomologists make an accurate estimation for how long a person has been dead because different types of insects are attracted to different stages of decomposition. The life stages of eggs and young insects can also give important clues. Forensic entomologists must take certain environmental factors into account when examining bodies, such as ambient temperature, season, time of day and the body's surroundings. All of these factors affect a body's rate of decomposition, as well as insect growth. (Source: Study)

Did You Know ?

Forensic Entomologist

Forensic entomologists are those involved in the branch of entomology that involves insects and violent crime or the law, known as forensic entomology. This includes three main branches: medicocriminal entomology, urban entomology, and stored product entomology.

Forensic entomology is not a new science. The first recorded case of forensic entomology was in China in 1235 AD. After a person was found dead, all the peasants in the village were required to bring their farming tools to the village centre. The killer’s weapon was identified because there were flies  feeding on the tiny amounts of blood attached to the tool.

(Source: University of Western Australia - Centre for Learning and Teaching)

Collecting Insects
(Source: Department of Agriculture and Food, WA Government)



Although some forensic entomologists are employed full-time by law enforcement agencies, these forensic scientists most often work on a contract basis when called in to assist medical examiners, coroners, police agencies, and federal agencies answer critical questions pertaining to criminal death investigations.

Forensic entomologist jobs as they relate to a criminal death investigation often involve:

  • Responding to the crime scene to document, recover, and identify human remains and to collect and preserve physical an biological evidence
  • Studying the various aspects of the insects, including type, growth, developmental stage, or damage caused to the postmortem body to determine time of death
  • Studying climate and weather patterns preceding and subsequent to the criminal act as to determine the life stages of the insects
  • Determining if insects at the scene were indigenous to the area of were transported by the victim or perpetrator
  • Developing organized and accurate entomology reports
  • Supervising the handling of all entomological specimens to ensure proper processing, identification, and storage
  • Developing procedures for forensic entomological case work, collection and documentation


  • All evidence collected at the scene of a crime by a forensic entomologist must be collected and stored according to strict guidelines and protocols to ensure it can be admissible in court, if necessary. Law enforcement officials therefore often accompany forensic entomologists to the scene of the crime to ensure that all proper steps are taken during the collection and preservation of evidence.



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