A VIU biology major only just received her degree this week, but is already a published researcher.
Genevieve van der Voort was lead author of a paper published in The Canadian Entomologist after studying the effects of coloured traps used to catch insects in bog orchid environments.
According to a Vancouver Island University press release, van der Voort’s study utilized a rainbow of eight different-coloured pan traps filled with soapy water to observe insect diversity in environments supporting bog orchids.
Jasmine Janes, VIU biology professor, and Manu Saunders of the University of New England were co-authors of the paper.
“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,” said Janes. “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.”
The press release noted that while the colours of the traps generally showed no statistical difference, the study “contributes important baseline data on the diversity and behaviour of insect communities in orchid habitats on the Island.” The work also supports Janes’s long-term research on the “eco-evolutionary process” of bog orchids.
Van der Voort said in the release that she’s passionate about insect research and hopes to pursue a master of science in the future.
“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,” she said.
Janes said the student shows great initiative, attitude and attention to detail. Van der Voort was a recipient of both a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Undergraduate Student Research Award and a VIU Reach Award for undergraduate research.