In partnership with the National Museum of Zimbabwe, our insect research is critical to understand in greater detail the ecosystems they occur in, as they are an integral part of food chains, seed dispersal, pest populations, and spread of zoonotic diseases.
Our studies so far have encompassed ground dwelling insects, measuring the impact of insects on types of vegetation in Chizarira National Park.
Our current research has a wider scope to further understand the understudied entomology of Chizarira National Park. This includes measuring ground-dwelling, crawling, and flying insect populations, their effects on fire, vegetation and other wildlife, such as bird and frog species, and measuring the amount of endemic species in the park. There is no long-term data available for these key research aspects that we currently focus on, as there are large research gaps with entomological research for Chizarira National Park and the surrounding Protected Areas, and these aspects have previously been unknown. In that regard, this is the first research of its kind.
We use pitfall trapping, a common entomological research technique, to conduct sample sizes and measure population dynamics, and behaviour. Wildlife monitoring also allows us to understand the roles of insect species within an ecosystem, regarding food chains, and seed dispersal. In the future, we would like to use this research to further our understanding of the spread of zoonotic diseases to improve the health and safety of surrounding communities.