Marsh Award for Entomology

The Marsh Entomology Award supports field-based ecology and recognises individuals working with any invertebrate family that have made outstanding contributions to entomological science.

Ian Wallace, Ivan Wright and Colin Pratt 2022

Ian Wallace   

Ian has been recording caddisflies since the 1970s and began his doctoral research on the group after collecting and naming his first caddisfly at university. In the intervening years he has visited every corner of the UK to make new records of this under-recorded group. Since establishing the Caddisfly Recording Scheme, he has personally amassed over 410,000 records. These days, Ian probably spends as much time helping other people identify caddisflies, especially from photographs, as doing his own recording. Ian was named winner of the 2019 National Biodiversity Network Award for Terrestrial Wildlife and his efforts to create so many records of caddisflies means that they are no longer classified as a seriously under-recorded group. He believes that “Every record advances our knowledge of a species’ biology and thus is a little bit of science in action” and this underpins his efforts to improve identification resources. Ian was a senior curator at National Museums Liverpool for over 40 years and is currently an Honorary Curator there and an Honorary Fellow of the Freshwater Biological Association. His enthusiasm is infectious, his entomological knowledge and field skills are outstanding and he cares deeply about his field.  

 

Ivan Wright   

Ivan is a local Oxfordshire entomologist who has helped set the Shotover Wildlife Trust on its feet, petitioning for its status and recognition tirelessly. He has been working with the Trust for over 20 years and has been a key member, documenting Shotover’s species and history, raising awareness of the area’s importance as a wildlife refuge, and vocally advocating for its protection through local council measures. Ivan specialises in Hymenoptera, one of the largest orders of insects including many species of bees, wasps, hornets, and ants, and has worked on this British fauna for over 20 years. He has actively supported and trained numerous students through a variety of outlets from Open University Continuing Education courses to local general public events around the city and is always willing to give generously of his time. Ivan co-authored the book Shotover: The Life of an Oxfordshire Hill which was published in 2018 and summarises two decades of recording and research across Shotover’s rich variety of habitats as a lasting tribute to the hard work of a team of specialists working for the sheer love of their subject.  

 

Colin Pratt  

Colin has been the Lepidoptera Recorder for East and West Sussex for 47 years. He started collecting records for Sussex in 1975 and became de facto County Recorder at that time, sending out blank species lists for butterfly enthusiasts to fill out. Following the publication of his book, History of the Butterflies and Moths of Sussex, in 1981, Colin went on to research, write, produce and self-publish A Complete History of the Butterflies and Moths of Sussex, a monumental series of 4 volumes, unmatched in scope and content and entirely self-funded. Not one to rest on his laurels, Colin is currently researching and writing A Revised History of the Butterflies and Moths of Sussex, of which he has published 3 of the 5 volumes. This is a well-illustrated and produced series, rich with colourful and detailed specimens. In addition to extremely detailed reviews of each species, Colin provides an overall analysis of the results, highlighting the most important locations for these species, the history of the species and requirements for surveying key sites. Approximately 3,000 references are included in this series, making it an outstanding effort and example of commitment to lepidoptera recording. Colin’s contribution to the knowledge and understanding of the lepidoptera of Sussex is immense and his books provide an unrivalled resource for all of those seeking data on this group of insects. He is a true ‘unsung hero’ in the world of entomology.  

 

Previous Winners

Ashleigh Whiffin, Stuart Ball and Roger Morris , and Tony Barber

 Ashleigh Whiffin

Ashleigh is an inspiring Assistant Curator of Entomology at the National Museums of Scotland, where she works enthusiastically with many entomological groups to promote her field. She is an active member of the Royal Entomological Society and sits on their Outreach and Development committee; she is also a member of the Malloch Society in Scotland and is the current Chair of the Edinburgh Entomological Club; she works with the Biological Records Centre to co-organise a National Recording Scheme for Carrion Beetles; and internationally, she is co-communications officer for the Entomological Collections Network.  

Ashleigh recently collaborated with researchers in Australia to produce ‘A Guide to Public Engagement for Entomological Collections and Natural History Museums in the Age of Social Media’. She leads the national Carrion Beetle Recording Scheme, producing an atlas and her work has increased recording activity and awareness for conservation of this and other entomological species.  

Stuart Ball and Roger Morris 

Stuart and Roger volunteer for and have re-energised the Hoverfly Record Scheme. Stuart manages the database, and Roger does most of the validation of records submitted. By 2017, one million hoverfly records had been accumulated. The large volume of digitised records means that the scheme’s distribution maps give an accurate picture of the distribution of Britain’s 283 hoverfly species. The database has been used to produce some important papers relating to the impact of climate change and extreme weather events on the distribution, population numbers and phenology of Britain’s hoverflies.  

Stuart and Roger have run training courses throughout Britain on the identification of hoverflies and fly families for the Wildlife Trusts, the Field Studies Council, and other organisations. In 2013, Stuart and Roger’s book ‘Britain’s Hoverflies, an introduction to the hoverfly of Britain’’ was published and has been reviewed as a resounding success.  

Tony Barber 

Tony has been at the centre of national recording of centipedes since 1970 when the British Myriapod Survey was launched, and he has worked tirelessly to gather information and encourage others to do so. His activities include running the recording scheme, publishing keys, research papers and articles, and mentoring and helping others during field visits and through correspondence. The Survey aimed to increase understanding of the ecology and distribution centipedes and millipedes.  

Tony is also a lecturer in the Science and Mathematics Department at the College of Further Education in Plymouth where he has regularly taught entomology and contributed to courses on Insect Natural History. The knowledge Tony puts into his publications is essential and varied and helps to explain important ecological information. He has formed the British Myriapod and Isopod Group and has served as Chairman. Tony is active internationally, giving presentations and communicating regularly with overseas colleagues.  

Tony has always been keen to communicate his enthusiasm to a wider audience, responding to invitations to attend events for young people. His encouragement to new and inexperienced recorders has been a notable feature and his knowledge of centipedes in the UK has taken a significant step forwards for others interested in this species.