Minutes of the third quadrennial meeting, Wageningen 2006

The third meeting of the International Heteropterists' Society was held at the Wageningen International Conference Center (WICC) in Wageningen, The Netherlands, July 17–22, 2006. A total of 83 participants and 12 guests attended, representing 27 countries. This summary provides an informal overview of the professional presentations and other activities of the attending members; the formal minutes of the business meetings are presented elsewhere.  

The first day of the conference was devoted to registration, followed by an evening “icebreaker” at the WICC Hotel. On Tuesday, July 18, members were welcomed to the opening session by Berend Aukema, Program Chair, and J. van Tol, President of the Netherlands Entomological Society. Dr. van Tol emphasized the importance of global cooperation among professional and amateur entomologists, and announced the completion of the final volume of the Catalogue of Palearctic Heteroptera. 

President Grazia then introduced Jakob Damgaard, who presented a memorial to the late Nils Møller Andersen, providing biographical information and describing an impressive academic and professional career ranging across many disciplines, from paleontology to ecological phylogenetics to behavior. As a renowned specialist on Halobates and other Gerromorpha, Dr. Andersen was a pioneer in integrating morphological and molecular data and promoting computer based phylogenetic analyses, as well as the recipient of the 2004 Whitley Book Award. A biography of Dr. Andersen, including all his articles and taxon names provided by him or in his honor, is being prepared by Jakob Damgaard.

The Nils Møller Andersen Award, established by Annemarie Møller Andersen in 2005 in memory of her husband, honors our late colleague and recognizes young heteropterists by providing funds to attend the IHS Quadrennial Meeting. The five recipients of the 2006 Andersen Award – Dominik Chlond, University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland; Dmitry Gapon, Zoological Institute R.A.S. St. Petersburg, Russia; Anna Namyatova, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia; Dr. Christiano Schwertner, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brasil; and Dr. Qiang Xie, Nankai University, Tianjin P.R.C. – were congratulated by the Awards Committee and received certificates.

The first business meeting (view minutes) and a coffee break followed the awards ceremony; Jakob Damgaard then moderated a series of three paper sessions extending late into the evening, assisted by Christian Fischer handling projection and computer tasks. The Tuesday paper sessions (view abstracts) began with a presentation by Toby Schuh on development of an on-line catalog of Heteroptera, followed by talks on systematics, morphology, ecology, and behavior, biogeographical overviews from various regions, and studies of flight activity, wing loading, and evolution of hemelytra. Contributions on reduviids, tingids, pentatomids, acanthosomatids, anthocorids, mirids, and lygaeids were presented. An afternoon tea break allowed participants to read poster presentations (view abstracts), browse book displays of several vendors, and order the very popular conference t-shirts; the dinner break permitted everyone to explore the outdoor cafes and restaurants of Wageningen, returning for five evening papers and the end of a long, hot, but tremendously successful first day. The week of the conference was accompanied by record-breaking temperatures in this part of the Netherlands; with no air conditioning in the conference hall, the meeting program performed efficiently as impromptu hand fans for the wilting but persistent conference audience.

Wednesday, July 19, was reserved for visiting collections. A few conference participants remained in Wageningen, having made arrangements to view the University collections, especially those of the late R. H. Cobben. Two groups of attendees and guests traveled by bus to the Zoölogisch Museum in Amsterdam or the Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum in Leiden. The Amsterdam group spent a full day in the collections. The larger, Leiden contingent worked in the collection in small groups in several shifts, spending the remainder of the day enjoying the various attractions of the city, including the Hortus Botanicus, the oldest botanical garden in Europe; Leiden University; the incredible view from the Burcht hill fortress; and Leiden’s classic windmill, which must have been photographed – with the requisite canal view – by virtually everyone on the trip.

Wednesday evening the Executive Committee met at the home of Berend and Geertje Aukema, to determine a slate of nominees for officers to serve from 2006-2010.

Paper presentations continued on Thursday, July 20 (view abstracts). Morning session presentations focused on the Gerromorpha and Nepomorpha, including Hydrometridae, Gerridae, and Gelastocoridae. Two general papers on molecular systematics and wing development followed the coffee break, and the traditional group photo was taken on the Conference center steps. The participants circulated and signed cards to three colleagues who were unable to attend and deeply missed: Izya Kerzhner (Russia), Michail Josifov (Bulgaria), and Le-yi Zheng (Tianjin, P.R. China). Most of the afternoon session was devoted to mirid phylogeny. The closing session and second business meeting (view minutes) were followed by a tea break and poster session; more books and t-shirts were acquired, poster presenters avidly discussed their research, and preparations were made for transport to the Congress Dinner. Attendees departed on foot from the Conference Center and walked through town to the banks of the river, to discover with delight that the transportation arranged was a boat trip on the River Rhine!After a scenic and pleasurable cruise along the Nederrijn (Lower Rhine), we disembarked into an open field, wandered up a path to the road, and found ourselves at De Blaauwe Kamer (The Blue Room), a restaurant with an exceptional view, marvelous food (including delicacies such as eel, herring, and local shrimp), and an accordion player. After dinner, the business meeting concluded (view minutes) with the awarding of prizes for best poster and paper, and we returned by boat to Wageningen.

The two days following the formal conference were devoted to collecting trips. On Friday, July 21, participants traveled by bus to Hoge Veluwe National Park, in Otterlo, near Arnhem. This vast nature preserve comprises the largest national park in the Netherlands, and is also home to a world-class art collection, the Kröller-Müller Museum, with a superb assortment of modern sculpture, contemporary and impressionist paintings (the van Gogh collection is particularly extensive), and a beautiful sculpture garden, the largest in Europe. Free recreational bicycles and hiking paths allow visitors to explore extensively throughout the preserve. Our busload of entomologists, armed with maps, collecting permits and sweep nets, greatly enjoyed the opportunity to gather specimens in this vast and spectacular park.  Many participants left Wageningen on Saturday, July 22, but a stalwart group remained for the second field trip, via public transport to the nearby nature reserve Laag-Wolfheze. See the Autumn 2006 Het News for a description of specimens collected on these trips by Bernard Nau and Sheila Brooke.

Heartfelt thanks to Berend Aukema, who organized virtually every aspect of the successful Third Quadrennial IHS Conference. We look forward to the Fourth Quadrennial Conference in Tianjin City, PRC, and hope to see you all there! 

-Paula Levin Mitchell, Secretary

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