Awarding Outstanding People in Research: Entomological Science

06 September, 2019

This year marks the 18th year we have been running Awards in partnership with the Royal Entomological Society (RES), with this year seeing the start of our involvement with the J.O. Westwood Medal for Excellence in Insect Taxonomy & Marsh Prize.

Our Awards present an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding contributions of people and volunteers committed to a range of causes, and to celebrate those who go above and beyond in their professional roles. This particular Award partnership with RES, focuses on recognising researchers and professionals who have made a great impact in their field and throughout their careers.

We had 3 brilliant winners that, through passion and dedication to their work, have all given invaluable contributions to entomological science.

Professor Michael Samways was the winner of the Marsh Award for Insect Conservation on the basis of lifetime achievement. His work focuses on all aspects of insect conservation, both nationally and internationally. He has been named as one of the Legends of South African Science by the South African Academy of Science of South Africa and has successfully established a legacy which is saving the lives of countless insects.

Dr Jessica Gillung was our winner of the Marsh Award for Early Career Entomologist. At this early stage in her career she has achieved a remarkable amount, from describing 25 new spider fly species, to dedicating her time to share her knowledge through teaching and mentoring. Her research focusing on spider flies, a group of spider natural enemies, is ground-breaking and there is no doubt we will definitely hear more from her in the future.

The winner of our newest Award, the J.O. Westwood Medal for Excellence in Insect Taxonomy & Marsh Prize was Dr Jason P W Hall. This Award focuses on recognising the best taxonomic work and Jason’s monograph, focusing on butterflies, was what really made him stand out as a worthy winner.

These Awards we run with the RES are so important as they recognise extraordinary people who dedicate their lives to conserve, study and celebrate the most diverse group of animals on earth. Not only is their research interesting but it is crucial in many ways. It contributes to giving us a better understanding on the role of insects in the spread of disease, protecting food and crops, and ways in which insects can contribute to the well being of humans, animals and plants.


Pictured: A spider fly visiting flowers to feed on nectar (species: Eulonchus tristis). Photo courtesy: Alice Abela.