Experts reveal insects’ key role on planet


04-May-2009

Dr Payet (2nd from right) addressing guests and delegates at the opening of the workshopThis is one of the remarkable facts that was explained by experts meeting in Seychelles to discuss the vital role that insects play in the very existence of our planet.

At a six-day workshop hosted recently by the Island Conservation Society (ICS), they also gave information and training to members of environment and conservation organisations.

Delegates learned that though insects are often taken for granted and seen simply as pests, they play a major role in the world’s ecosystems, making decomposition and pollination happen.

Little is really known about insects in Seychelles, but the ICS aims to change this situation through the   seminar, which took place at the Exiles Club in Victoria.

It was opened by Dr Rolph Payet and led by Dr Jean-François Voisin, an insect specialist from France’s Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle.

Dr Voisin was helped by scientists Gaetan Galman, a PhD student on insects, and Dr Gérard Rocamora, a scientific director from the Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial.

Guests and delegates at the opening of the workshop

The workshop was part of a four-year project to rehabilitate the ecosystems of Seychelles and restore rare or threatened species.

Presentations were given in English and French, but Creole was used for other activities and discussions. Guest speakers included Dr Payet, Dr Christopher Kaiser from Switzerland, Simon Julienne, Elvina Henriette-Payet and Will Dogley.

Topics included an introduction to terrestrial and freshwater invertebrates and their place in ecosystems; skills to identify the different groups; techniques to capture, monitor and preserve insects; other conservation aspects.

There were also practical sessions, when those taking part learned how to capture, count and transport insects, and observe them using microscopes. Excursions to sites such as Sans Soucis and Anonyme island were also arranged.
The workshop ended last Thursday with a presentation of certificates for those who took part.

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