2017 welcomes a number of new (and returning) faces to the lab and a burst of enthusiasm for invertebrates, field work, coffee and cake. At the very end of 2016, Erin Powell arrived from Lisa Taylor’s lab at the University of Florida to commence a Marsden Funded PhD project on harvestmen and their ridiculously exaggerated male weaponry. Neil Birrell also finished the year by starting his MSc research on black soldier flies and why you should be eating them (well….indirectly, by way of chickens). Once the clock ticked over into 2017, Rebecca Le Grice – who worked on fighting and mating in giraffe weevils in the Holwell lab during 2014 – returned from her adventures around Africa to start her PhD on the ecology and behaviour of New Zealand seaweed flies. Look out for her on a beach near you! Cass Mark is also returning from her 2014 MSc on moth antennae and a year of work on mantis antennae in the Holwell lab to commence a PhD project looking at crypsis and masquerade in moths. Morgane Merien will also soon start her Honours research project on the stick insect Clitarchus hookeri.
What an exciting time for the lab, lots of new research directions and new species to play with. We are sure to uncover some fascinating natural history and let the world know more about New Zealand’s amazing invertebrates!