The inside out of flies: why flies (and their parts) are important
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The Annual Plymouth Linnean Lecture will be given by Dr Erica McAlister, Senior Curator of Diptera, Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, London. 

Flies are much-maligned organisms, often thought of as little more than carriers of organisms that cause disease in humans and other animals. Of the 165,000 described species of fly (of an estimated 5,000,000 species of fly on Earth), this is not actually the case, yet we tend to tar all of them with the same brush as a mere handful that actually do carry disease. Flies are the most morphologically variable of all insects and probably animals as a whole – they are vastly different from larva to adult and between adults of different species. Often, even the sexes of any one species of fly are so absurdly different that this has caused great confusion amongst field biologists! It is these differences that have enabled flies to prosper and to explore Earth, and to become the medics, recyclers and pollinators that have allowed our planet to function properly as a whole. Whilst it is true that some flies are vectors that carry disease, by studying flies across their whole diversity, we as humans can become better medics, better recyclers and can improve our relationship with Earth as a result.

The lecture starts at 18:00 and will be delivered as a Zoom webinar. Please register your place via the above link.

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About the speaker

Dr Erica McAlister holds a BSc (Hons) Environmental Biology from the University of Manchester and PhD from the University of Surrey Roehampton (now University of Roehampton). 

As Senior Curator of the Diptera at the Natural History Museum, London, she manages the Collections of the larger Brachycera, the Mycetophilidae and the Culicidae in the Diptera and the Siphonaptera as a whole. Her current taxonomic work includes the Asilidae of Australia and the Diptera of Dominica, in addition to work on historic DNA recovery from specimens of the Culidicae and numerous projects on the Diptera of the United Kingdom. 

In addition to her scientific work, Dr McAlister is an avid blogger and user of social media for scientific outreach as well as giving talks to schools and societies and appearing in podcasts, on radio and on television talking about flies! She has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Entomological Society, has recently stood down as President of the Amateur Entomological Society and is a committee member of the Dipterists Forum. She has published two popular science books “The Secret Life of Flies” (2017) and “The Inside Out of Flies” (2020), with a forthcoming book for children “A Bugs World”.

Annual Plymouth Linnean Lecture 2021

Speaker: Dr Erica McAlister, Senior Curator of Diptera, Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, London

Annual Plymouth Linnean Lecture series

The Annual Plymouth Linnean Lecture series serves to bring high-level scientists in conservation, ecology and natural history to the South West. 

Our lectures are free to attend and very well attended, but you will need to register using the online form. They are suited to anyone of any background and you do not need any background or experience in biology to understand them. 

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