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Saturday, April 5, 2014

From Botanist to Odonatologist

Since my first selection of a main object at university time, it has been more than 14 year, as I was a botanical student in Hanoi University of Science. Working hardly in 2 and haft years in Botany Faculty, I learned the systematic of flower fauna in Vietnam that mainly focus on the origin of the flower plants. I did a serious study on flower plant in Lang Son Province, North Vietnam where was considered to be the center of the first flower plant of the world. That theory relates to the relationship between flower plant, pollen transferring and insects. Beetles are insects that were considered the main factors of the pollen transferring at the begging time as they were considering the first group that fly to the ancient flowers to eat the pollen. I was impressed very much in the relationship between flowers and insects with complicated evolution of the relationship of two creature groups.
At that time I did my thinking about the diversity of flowers, we had a field trip to Tam Dao National Park for third year students. We spent a week to “play” with nature in Tam Dao. My impression was gained very much with the colorful, diversity  and very very big size insects in the National Park.  The story about Cheriotonus that are long arm beetles in the town, that discussed by local people made my really to be curious. More ever, I saw a collector from Japan, who is trading a number of stag beetles with very much surprising. I kept all that images in my mind to back the university after that first field trip to Tam Dao. After about 3 months considering, with some private reasons, I decided to change my object of my life, I selected entomology for my graduate subject and mosquitoes controlling for finishing my graduated thesis. Medicine entomological laboratory in National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology is one of the best entomological laboratories in Hanoi that time. I did try to fight again the developing of the mosquito populations but I quickly recognized that it is easy to win the insects in a short period but at the end, people always to be loser.  With the thinking of not easy to be success in applied entomological field and it was very possibility that I could not get the official position in the good laboratory in NIHE, I applied to some other works.
Four years working in a publishing house is the next period of my life; the main job was reading, discussing with the authors and editing the manuscripts. That kind of mission is quite interesting but it is not real thing that I want to do. I missed field trips, theories and forest very much, that make me applied to study the master degree on entomology in Hanoi University of Science. Again, I have an opportunity to select an object to study. Mosquitoes and controlling was more than enough for me that time, and I really wanted to select a group of insect that more colorful, and had been in my dream in the first field trip to Tam Dao. Jewelry beetles or Buprestidae are the first thing that came to my mind, not dragonfly. I love their color wings and they also eat the pollen as well, an image that related to my knowledge of botany. However, the life always very difference from what you want. To collect beetles, there was only one way that I known that time, it is using the light trap, in fact for Buprestidae, you can use a long net and catch them on the flowers during the day. Thinking of a hard work at night and only me with a heavy generator did destroy my dream of coleoptera that time. So, there was only way to continue my hobby of entomology, select a day flying insect group. Butterfly is a group with too many species for a single researcher with more than 1000 species around Vietnam. The next group that I considered that time is of course dragonfly. Since the time, my life of being an odonatologist was beginning, 2001…

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