Eva Crane Award 2008

publication date: Feb 5, 2010
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The Winners

2008 was the first year for the award and there were 47 suitable entries. This was reduced to a short list of 10 on which the editors decided by vote. A clear winner emerged and that was:

X-ray computerised microtomograhy (microCT): a new technique for
assessing external and internal morphology of bees.

By Marc Greco1, Allan Jones2, Robert Spooner-Hart1 and Paul Holford1

1.  Centre for Plant and Food Science, University of Western Sydney, NSW, Australia
2.  Australian Key Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.

IBRA has allocated Open Access to this paper which appears in Vol. 47 (4) 2008. 
Click here to view full text.
DOI: 10.3896/IBRA.1.47.4.09

The Winning Project

X-ray computerised microtomography (MicroCT) is now emerging as a new method for the non-invasive imaging of insects. The basic principles of MicroCT are similar to those used in medical CT scanners, however with MicroCT it is now possible to achieve a resolution down to a few micrometers. By combining MicroCT with user-friendly DISECT 3D software (BeeView) Mark has been developing Diagnostic Radioentomology (DR) to look inside insects without damaging them. Researchers can now also electronically store these images and reuse them with BeeView to review the same morphology or explore new regions within the original sample.

The non-destructive nature of DR will also be invaluable for rare or precious specimens or for non-invasive phylogenetic studies on ancient insects such as bees trapped in amber. DR will prove to be most useful for entomologists wishing to preserve the physical structure of their specimens and with the recent refinements in NanoCT imaging which enables image resolutions closer to those of SEM, DR may become the technique of choice in the near future.

The Researchers

Mark K. Greco is currently researching Apis mellifera colony development as part of a Post Doctoral appointment at: the Swiss Bee Research Institute, Agroscope Liebefeld Posieux, Bern.

Mark is a member of the Australian Entomological Society, councillor for the N.S.W. Entomological Society and has been involved in the management and application of Australian stingless bees and Apis mellifera since 1991. He is a beekeeper and presently manages hives of Apis mellifera and Trigona carbonaria at his residence and at the University of Western Sydney. As an undergraduate his major work was on the uses of Australian stingless bees in agriculture. An active participant in the first survey of Australian stingless beekeepers in 1999, Mark also contributed to the Whitley award winning field guide ‘Native bees of the Sydney region' by Anne Dollin, Michael Batley, Martyn Robinson and Brian Faulkner and has been the recipient of the F.G. Swain award for outstanding oral presentation.

Originally, a Medical radiation scientist, Mark chose to follow his passion for bees and along with his research on Australian native bees, he published a paper in the international Journal of Apicultural Research on stingless bee colony health using x-ray computerised tomography (CT) and another on the management of bluebanded bees using CT as a diagnostic tool in the journal "Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata". Mark frequently presents and disseminates information on Australian native bees and at APIMONDIA 2007 he delivered an oral presentation on the management of Australian stingless bees within the greenhouse environment where he introduced a new technique termed "Diagnostic Radioentomology" for the non-invasive study of insects.

Dr Allan S. Jones is Currently Senior Lecturer (Image Analysis) in the Electron Microscope Unit (EMU) of the University of Sydney. He specialises in microscope imaging technologies and in particular 3D X-ray micro-tomography. Dr Jones' research at the EMU is characterised by its diversity with active research programs focused on orthodontic dentistry, inner ear anatomy and cochlear implants, respiratory medicine and the development of new micro-tomographic X-ray techniques that can be applied to biological systems.

Associate Professor Robert Spooner-Hart is Theme Leader (Sustainable Plant Production Systems) at the Centre for Plant and Food Science at The University of Western Sydney.

Associate Professor Paul Holford Leader (Education and Postgraduate Training) Univesity of Western Sydney.  After completing a BSc specialising in crop protection, Paul Holford worked in the mushroom and wheat industries of the UK and Saudi Arabia. He went on to complete his masters and doctoral studies in plant genetics and molecular biology at the University of Birmingham, UK. In 1992, he joined the University of Western Sydney, where his research and teaching have been in the areas of crop production and protection and plant biotechnology.