A brief history of forensic entomology: where have we been and where are we headed?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013: 1:30 PM
Meeting Room 18 B (Austin Convention Center)
Meaghan Pimsler , Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Charity Owings , Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Forensic entomology is the application of arthropod biology to legal investigations, and can be divided into three broad categories: stored products, urban, and medicolegal entomology. Records detailing the utilization of arthropods in such scenarios date back almost a millennium, however academic interest in these areas was not prominent until the mid 20th century. Since then, research in this realm has dramatically increased, ranging from studies of succession, developmental biology, and the design and implementation of baits and pest-control systems, to emphasizing interdisciplinary methods in evolution, ecology, behavior, chemistry, and molecular biology to answer basic questions pertinent to legal investigations. The new generation of forensic entomologists not only conducts innovative research in an academic setting, but is actively involved in legal cases regarding food contamination, structural problems, neglect, abuse, delusory parasitosis, and death. This presentation will review the history of forensic entomology research, the classic role of the forensic entomologist, and provide insight into the new directions the field appears to be moving.