Back from a biology co-op – bugs bugs bugs
I am like most students – I have no idea what I want to do when I grow up. My co-op job gave me a great chance to see what it is like to work at an agricultural research centre. I still don’t know what I am interested in, but I am pretty confident it isn’t ecology.
I worked at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Agassiz (BC) as an entomology assistant (studying and taking care of insects in the lab). I worked with a lot of bugs; aphids, wasps, stink bugs, fruit flies, mealworms. There was a lot of daily work feeding, cleaning and managing the colonies of insects, but I also had the opportunity to design some of my own experiments.
For my co-op project, I studied a parasitoid wasp which lays eggs inside of aphids. I researched its life history and reproductive strategy before designing an experiment to see how the egg load changes over time based on host and nutrient availability.
It was a great experience. I learned a lot while making money and having fun, but I am really happy to be back.