"we will slowly lose the amateur entomologists"

Mike Quinn mqnature at hiline.net
Sat Jun 26 12:45:14 EDT 1999

>Mike Quinn wrote:
>> Hi Chris, I would agrue that we are finally quickly gaining amateur
>> entomologists.
>Paul Cherubini wrote:
>But are we gaining professional entomologists Mike? It's been my
>impression that the number of students majoring in entomology at our ag
>colleges peaked in the 1970's and has been on the decline ever since. What
>has been the situation at your school?

---FWD from Allen Dean---

Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 17:09:34 -0500
From: "Allen Dean" <a-dean-ento at tamu.edu>
To: <mqnature at hiline.net>
Subject: Re: RFI: Growth rate in grad students


According to the chart I have, the numbers of students receiving degrees in
entomology at [Texas] A&M peaked in the 80's for MAg (1st given out in the
70's), MS, and PhD. BS degrees peaked in the 70's but started to rise after
increased focus during the early 90's. Don't have it separated by resident
vs out of state or foreign.


----End FWD MSG-------

It's my contention that the numbers of students persuing professional
careers in entomology would have flattened out or dropped off with or
without the increased interest in entomology by amateurs. The jobs just
aren't out there due primarily to an ever increasing emphasis on molecular
studies and the current march towards transgenic crops.

I believe that entomology will benefit from the increasing numbers of
amateurs, not through increasing amount of employment but through
increasing amounts of data provided. Anyone has followed the progress on
Monarch Watch and has received the latest issue of their Season Summary
will know exactly what I'm talking about.

Quoting from Chip Taylor's introduction to the 1998 Season Summary:
"In 1992, we sent out two news releases asking for volunteers to tag
Monarchs. I had no idea at the time how this small project would change my
life nor did I envision Monarch Watch as it is today. It's fair to say that
Monarch Watch runs my life and continues to lead me into new areas of
public education and lines of research that I hadn't anticipated. Each year
brings new adventures and connections that seem to arise simply because
Monarch Watch exists."

By offering 50 pesos (~US$5.00) per recovered tag last winter, Monarch
studies took a monumental step forward. "For the first time we have enough
recoveries to actually work with the data. From these data we can calculate
recovery rates as a function of distance, estimate mortality rates of the
migrants, and calculate the total size of the migratory population (page
18). This is a breakthrough in terms of getting at the dynamics and
demography of the overwintering population. We've gone beyond simply
verifying where the Monarchs in Mexico originate. This is where I wanted to
be, but I never thought we'd get we'd get here."

Mike Quinn, Donna, TX

More information about the Leps-l mailing list