Biosystematics, informatics and genomics of the big 4 insect groups: training tomorrow's researchers and entrepreneurs

Successful BIG4 field workshop in the Czech Republic, 6-10 June 2016 - By Joshua Max Jenkins Shaw

All students of the BIG4 consortium along with some supervisors and external collaborators convened on the idyllic surroundings of the Podyjí National Park near Havraníky in the South Moravian region on the Czech Republic. The workshop, successfully organized by Martin Fikáček from the National Museum of Prague, was the first opportunity for many students and supervisors to catch up after the kick-off meeting in Copenhagen in September 2015. In addition to enabling an open dialogue to share successes, problems and ideas of projects between students and supervisors, a series of field days and lectures were held to introduce four of the major insect groups (Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera and Diptera) and collecting techniques for obtaining specimens for further study. Fortunately, the weather was on our side and we enjoyed the sunny, warm days, perfect for being in the forest looking for insects and other organisms. The warm days were equally perfect for evenings around a fire with local Czech wine and further discussions about topics such as collecting legislation, modern systematic research methods, vouchers and types and species concepts. I think I speak for all students when I say we left having further built on relationships within the BIG4 family and were suitably tired from fieldwork in an impressive location.
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