Donald Hobern

There are some aspects of insects origin which are a little unclear, but they came on land pretty early and for a long time they were some of the most dominant lifeforms on land and at one stage they were very large with some of them with 70 centimetre wingspans, and it’s believed that they were some of the top predators of their age, so they’ve been here much longer than we have, and they’re really everywhere across the planet except for in the very, very coldest parts of Antarctica, but generally, insects are major part of every eco-system.

Today my guest is naturalist Donald Hobern. Donald is a lifelong naturalist with strong interests in Lepidoptera, DNA barcoding and metabarcoding, insect photography, and automation of species detection. I met Donald via the Mastodon platform as I was looking for someone with experience in Entomology which is the study of insects and their relationship to humans, the environment, and other organisms. Donald is a wonderful guest with a wealth of knowledge on the world of insects and we have an informative chat, so I hope you are sitting comfortably and happy to stay with us.

Our conversation starts with Donald explaining the origin of insects and how they were much larger than they are now (01:30), the evolution of insects developing a hive or nest (07:20), and their role in the development of plants and flowers (08:21). We then moved onto discussing the long term use of pesticides and artificial grasses and gardens (12:48), the results of genome studies on insects (23:03) and the possibility of them being a useful tool in medical science (29:05). In the second half of our chat, we talked about insects role as a food source (32:30), the concept of cloning insects (37:42), and as our chat drew to a close, I asked Donald what he is reading or watching at the moment (42:02).

Show Notes

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Categorized as Episodes

By Ken Sweeney

Podcast host and producer.

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