The Frost Welcomes Hillary

My name is Hillary Morin, and I am a life-long lover of the natural world, especially insects. I graduated May of 2015 from the University of Maine with a B.S. in Biology and a focus of Ecology. While there, I spent four years working for entomologists Dr. Frank Drummond and Dr. Eleanor Groden on several projects. These included honeybee and native bee ecology, research on spotted-winged drosophila and winter moth, two invasive species in Maine, and blueberry research. I also enjoyed two courses on aquatic entomology.

Girl tending honey bee hives in the winter time.

A tropical Maine day tending to honey bee hives. Photo by Jennifer Lund (CC by 2.0). Click for source.

Person sitting in blueberry field, point of view.

The perks of working in a blueberry field. Photo by Hillary Morin (CC by 2.0). Click for source.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            While at the University of Maine, I conducted an undergraduate honors thesis project on native natural enemies of the larval stage of the winter moth, an invasive in Maine. After graduation, I spent the summer working in Dr. John Tooker’s lab at Penn State University, primarily under graduate student Anna Busch. I gained experience with corn pest research and integrated pest management. This past fall, I completed an internship under Dr. Robert Kula at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, further identifying three types of parasitoids to species or morphospecies from my honors thesis. I had an amazing time at the Smithsonian, learning the standards of proper curating, and the taxonomic work that goes into identifying specimen. My research demonstrated a significant relationship between ichneumonid wasp and winter moth abundance, and there is a potential that I collected a new species in the family Ormocerus Walker, 1834 (Pteromalidae : Ormocerinae). I currently am working on these two aspects of my project and plan to publish before next fall.

Winter moth larvae on an oak leaf.

Winter moth larvae on an oak leaf. May of 2014 in Harpswell, Maine. Photo by Hillary Morin (CC by 2.0). Click for source.

I hope to spend next fall working towards my Master’s degree in entomology. I am inspired by what I learn through walking in the footsteps of past entomologists. I greatly enjoy instances in research where I am combining techniques of the past with new processes and adding my own ideas, for example the digitization I have the privilege to work in Dr. Deans lab. I am also inspired by education and outreach. Such a small percentage of the general public have a deep understanding of the insect community around us all, and moments where I have the opportunity to share my excitement with others are why I strive to become an entomologist.

Girl wet after falling into a bog.

Sometimes “walking in the footsteps” can be more literal than expected. After an hour hike in the mud to this bog, I was too focused on a beautiful caddisfly larvae in my net and became one with the bog. Photo by Kaitlyn Odonnel (CC by 2.0). Click for source.

Have a wonderful end to the week, and I look forward to writing more posts on this blog!

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