QSBG Entomology recently (September 1-5, 2014) organised and hosted an ACB (ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity) training course on Taxonomic Capacity Building for Sustainable Use of Biodiversity -- Predators and Parasitoids
Twenty-one participants from nine ASEAN countries (unfortunately Indonesia was unable to attend) attended the one week training course led by Dr Banpot Napompeth (Kasetsart University, Thailand) on parasitoids and Dr Ireneo Lit (University of the Philippines-Los Baños, Philippines) dealing with predators.
The five day course included lectures, laboratory sessions, field work in the QSBG gardens, a presentation by trainees of their findings and finally a presentation of certificates at Le Méridien Hotel in Chiang Mai city.
Activities started off day 1 with a formal opening by Dr Suyanee Vessabutr (Director of the Botanic Garden Organization and Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden), a presentation of some gifts from ACB (Dr Filiberto Pollisco, Jr (ACB), AKA Dr Noy) to Drs Suyanee and Chaweewan for their support in organizing the training at QSBG, and finally a formal group photo.
Following the formal opening Carl Callagan (ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, Philippines) started the technical training sessions with a presentation introducing participants to ACB taxonomy information databases
Next was a visit to the QSBG Entomology laboratory and collection led by Wichai Srisuka (curator).
After lunch Siridao Maneekhat (Public Relation section) and Sawitree Sasirat (Research and Laboratory Center) led a tour of some features of the QSBG garden, including the Natural Science Museum (featuring dinosaurs!), the Glasshouse complex (orchid house, rainforest house, arid zone house and finishing with afternoon tea), “Banana Alley” and finally ending with a viewing of the entries and winners of a recent photo competition, before returning to Chiang Mai.
After a relaxing first day the trainees got down to real work on day two with Dr Banpot leading them through the intricate details of parasitoid biology throughout the day.
Day three Dr Lit spent the morning and part of the afternoon lecturing the trainees on predator biology before moving to the laboratory for a session examining and sorting some prepared specimens.
Day four started early (0730hs), and surprisingly without rain, with activities in the field. Trainees used sweep nets, beating nets, forceps, pooters and general hand collecting techniques to collect predators and parasitoids they found in the field. Participants were also introduced to Malaise traps and pit traps that had been set up earlier.
Some trainees assisted set up a Malaise trap which the group posed with for a field group photo. Most of the participants spend about 4 hours collecting in the field, though one participant took the hand collecting a little too far and had to leave early to visit a local hospital after a wasp objected to such close handling!!
After the morning collecting in the field participants returned to the laboratory to set and sort the specimens they had collected. This day ended with afternoon tea and applause when our injured colleague returned recovered from hospital.
Day five was held at Le Méridien Hotel in Chiang Mai city. Dr “Noy” summarised the training session, trainees presented their findings from the field work and sorting, and participants were invited to provide their own assessment of the value of the training and areas that could be improved.
The training concluded with participants being issued with certificates attesting to their attendance at the training and Dr Suyanee officially closing the training, wishing everyone well and hoping there will be future training developing from this initial training (echoing comments by Dr Lit in his closing comments).
This training was the first such general training ACB has organised specifically on Entomology and many participants, as well as the resource persons, appreciated the value of training in this very neglected area as well as pointing out the need for more. QSBG certainly hopes ACB has the opportunity to support more training in these areas and that QSBG Entomology has some way to contribute to this worthy effort.
The training would not have been possible if not for the hard work of the ACB team, the QSBG Entomology team, the support of the trainers, the efforts and enthusiasm of the participants, and funding via the Japan-ASEAN Integrated Fund.
Additionally special thanks go to Dr Ratchada Pongsattayapipat (QSBG) and her team for assisting to organizing some critical logistics matters, to Dr Samaporn Saengyot (Mae Joh University) for assisting Dr Banpot with the preparation of his materials and to Chiang Mai University for allowing us to use some of their stereomicroscopes during laboratory work.