Dr. Netta Dorchin leads Israel’s first study of predatory gall midges. The goal: to promote biological control and minimize the use of chemical pesticides in natural and conservation areas. The essential first step is to identify and understand the midges’ natural enemies, and the prey range and feeding capacity of those enemies in various agricultural and forest landscapes.
TAXONOMY is the science that explores biodiversity. A good taxonomist does more than discover and name species but conducts a thorough comparative study of taxa and characters of various sources that lead to conclusions about phylogenetic relationships. In a time of biodiversity crisis and fundamental environmental changes, when we need taxonomy more than ever, this field is itself in crisis and nearing extinction.
Taxonomy is at its best when it is done for its own sake, not just as a name-providing service for ecologists, physiologists or molecular systematists. It is a challenging, rewarding discipline. To understand biodiversity before large parts of it are gone forever, we in the field are challenging ourselves to document the estimated 10 million animal species that still await discovery.
Dr. Dorchin's study focuses on the taxonomy and ecology of phytophagous insects, in particular gall inducers. She uses an integrative approach that combines comparative morphology, life history attributes, and genetic data to infer phylogenetic relationships and conclude evolutionary trends, such as the role of host associations in speciation processes.
Dr. Dorchin is one of the organizers of the 8th International Congress of Dipterology, August 10-15, 2014 in Postdam, Germany. www.icd8.org