Counting Bugs: La Trobe’s Research Centre focus on bugs in Victoria

Instead of being terrified of bugs, we can choose to appreciate and understand the benefits they provide to the ecosystem, to farmers and to our planet!

Tenzin and Lucas, for example, are second-year Zoology students who understand this and have dedicated their entire year to identifying bugs.

These bug nerds (or Entomology experts-in-training) are leading a team of students in sorting, counting and identifying of small invertebrates collected from fifteen mixed cropping and grazing farms in central Victoria.

Every Friday, Tenzin and Lucas are at the Bundoora campus sorting out and identifying insects collected from fifty farms around Australia. The purpose behind their passion is to help the agricultural industry measure natural capital and give young people a thorough understanding of both the good and bad bugs for Australian agriculture.

Natural capital refers to all elements of the natural environment that support agriculture, including bugs! Tenzin and Lucas carry such a deep passion for spreading awareness about this to where they have been able to recruit even more Zoology students.

This vital research is a part of the La Trobe Research Centre for Future Landscape’s ‘Farm-Scale Natural Capital Accounting’ project and is led by Dr. Alex Maisey, Research Fellow in the La Trobe Research Centre for Future Landscapes.

Understanding these bugs and their habitats will help La Trobe researchers provide farmers with information about the services bugs can provide on their farms. When we take the time to learn and understand more about bugs, the more clear we see the big picture in which bugs, in fact, contribute positively to agriculture.

If you are an undergraduate Zoology student, this experience in the industry will help build your professional skills in invertebrate identification and classification, while helping farmers manage pests or bug friends for the production of crops and pastures.

If you would like to learn more about the project and all of the amazing discoveries this team has found, please contact Tamara Marwood.