VIU student publishes research paper in peer-reviewed journal

Genevieve van der Voort is graduating this month having accomplished three major milestones — authored a research paper, received a major undergraduate award and a VIU REACH Award. || Photo courtesy of VIU
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A Vancouver Island University (VIU) student will graduate with a significant accomplishment after having her research paper published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Genevieve van der Voort is the lead author of Pan trapping in habitats supporting Platanthera (Orchidaceae) shows little difference in insect family-level diversity. It can be found in The Canadian Entomologist, which is published by Cambridge University Press.

“I still haven’t quite got my head wrapped around it,” said the biology major, who graduates this month. “I’m very passionate about insect research, so being able to contribute and share what I found with others is very exciting.”

The research paper sheds lights on the use of different coloured pan traps, which are small bowls filled with soapy water used to catch insects. The study contributes important baseline data on the diversity and behaviour of insect communities in orchid habitats on Vancouver Island.

Van der Voort’s study used eight different coloured pan traps to sample insect diversity in habitats supporting bog orchids (Platenthera) on Vancouver Island. Yellow traps caught the highest numbers of insects, but she found there was no statistical difference among colours overall.

The Canadian Entomologist publishes research papers and notes from entomologists and biologists from around the world. Van der Voort’s paper was co-authored by Dr. Jasmine Janes, a VIU biology professor, and Dr. Manu Saunders of the University of New England. The work falls under the larger umbrella of Janes’ long-term research project on the eco-evolutionary process of bog orchids.

“Few undergraduates get to be co-authors on papers, let alone lead authors, because the opportunities for research experiences like this are often reserved for graduate students,” Janes said. “This work is impressive, not just for its scientific merits, but because it means that Genevieve went above and beyond the expectations for a typical undergraduate research project — she did the field work, analysis and writing for this paper.”

Van der Voort was also a recipient of a VIU 2020 REACH Award, an award given to undergraduates to complete an independent research project, and a recipient a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA).

“Doing research helped me figure out what topics I would like to continue researching after graduating. I really enjoyed learning about insects and their relationships with plants in courses I had taken earlier in my degree and being able to use the information I had learned in year or semester-long projects was very rewarding,” van der Voort said. “I am hoping to go to graduate school for my master of science in the future, working on plants and insects.”

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