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Grand challenges in entomology: Priorities for action in the coming decades

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Gordon Port



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The Authors. Insect Conservation and Diversity published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Entomological Society.Entomology is key to understanding terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems at a time of unprecedented anthropogenic environmental change and offers substantial untapped potential to benefit humanity in a variety of ways, from improving agricultural practices to managing vector-borne diseases and inspiring technological advances. We identified high priority challenges for entomology using an inclusive, open, and democratic four-stage prioritisation approach, conducted among the membership and affiliates (hereafter ‘members’) of the UK-based Royal Entomological Society (RES). A list of 710 challenges was gathered from 189 RES members. Thematic analysis was used to group suggestions, followed by an online vote to determine initial priorities, which were subsequently ranked during an online workshop involving 37 participants. The outcome was a set of 61 priority challenges within four groupings of related themes: (i) ‘Fundamental Research’ (themes: Taxonomy, ‘Blue Skies’ [defined as research ideas without immediate practical application], Methods and Techniques); (ii) ‘Anthropogenic Impacts and Conservation’ (themes: Anthropogenic Impacts, Conservation Options); (iii) ‘Uses, Ecosystem Services and Disservices’ (themes: Ecosystem Benefits, Technology and Resources [use of insects as a resource, or as inspiration], Pests); (iv) ‘Collaboration, Engagement and Training’ (themes: Knowledge Access, Training and Collaboration, Societal Engagement). Priority challenges encompass research questions, funding objectives, new technologies, and priorities for outreach and engagement. Examples include training taxonomists, establishing a global network of insect monitoring sites, understanding the extent of insect declines, exploring roles of cultivated insects in food supply chains, and connecting professional with amateur entomologists. Responses to different challenges could be led by amateur and professional entomologists, at all career stages. Overall, the challenges provide a diverse array of options to inspire and initiate entomological activities and reveal the potential of entomology to contribute to addressing global challenges related to human health and well-being, and environmental change.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Luke SH, Roy HE, Thomas CD, Tilley LAN, Ward S, Watt A, Carnaghi M, Jaworski CC, Tercel MPTG, Woodrow C, Aown S, Banfield-Zanin JA, Barnsley SL, Berger I, Brown MJF, Bull JC, Campbell H, Carter RAB, Charalambous M, Cole LJ, Ebejer MJ, Farrow RA, Fartyal RS, Grace M, Highet F, Hill JK, Hood ASC, Kent ES, Krell F-T, Leather SR, Leybourne DJ, Littlewood NA, Lyons A, Matthews G, Mc Namara L, Menendez R, Merrett P, Mohammed S, Murchie AK, Noble M, Paiva M-R, Pannell MJ, Phon C-K, Port G, Powell C, Rosell S, Sconce F, Shortall CR, Slade EM, Sutherland JP, Weir JC, Williams CD, Zielonka NB, Dicks LV

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Insect Conservation and Diversity

Year: 2023

Volume: 16

Issue: 2

Pages: 173-189

Print publication date: 01/03/2023

Online publication date: 20/03/2023

Acceptance date: 21/02/2023

Date deposited: 04/04/2023

ISSN (print): 1752-458X

ISSN (electronic): 1752-4598

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc


DOI: 10.1111/icad.12637


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