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Title: Information Sheet, Dr. Gary Miller

An Interview with Dr. Gary Miller, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland, August 2003.

Mr. Toan Chung interviewed Dr. Miller in August 2003.

You can find other interviews in this series by using the keyword “2003i” in the box on the homepage of this Website.

Edited by Edward M. Barrows.

1.  What inspired you to enter the field of entomology?

As an undergraduate student, I happened to take an entomology course to fill my biology block.   I was a little apprehensive about the course but it turned out that the professor (Dr. Syd Radinovsky) had incredible enthusiasm.   We spent lots of time in the field getting an appreciation for insects in a natural setting.   After one field trip, I said, "This is it.   I need to be an entomologist!"   The rest is history.

2.  What specific kind of work do you do?

A lot of my work involves the use of a microscope to study minute detail of insect specimens.   However, I also get the opportunity to do scientific writing, illustration, and web design, too.

3.  What taxonomic groups of arthropods are your assignments?

I study the systematics of the Aphidoidea (Aphids and their kin).   Aphids (= Plantlice) are an economically important group of insects that feed on agricultural crops, ornamental plants, and forests.

4.  What is the most exciting project you have worked on?

5.  What keeps you excited about your profession?

The opportunity to discover and see new things every day.   There's never a dull moment.

6.  Would you like to work on any arthropod group that is currently outside your assignment?  If yes, what is it?  Why?

Yes, I've also enjoyed the Lacewings (Order Neuroptera).   They are beautifully delicate insects with sculptured wings and are amazing predators.

7.  In retirement (if you ever feel like retiring), would you still continue work with arthropods ("bugs")?

Probably yes.   I have a passion for history and also hope to concentrate on cultural entomology and the influence of arthropods on human history.

8.  How often do you see changes occurring in species due to environmental changes that occur in your specialty arthropods?

9.  Is biotic conservation important to you?   If yes, why?

Most definitely, yes.   It is important that future generations will also have the opportunity to explore the wonders of nature.

10.  What's your most remarkable bug encounter?

11.  What was your most dangerous bug encounter?

12.  If you had to choose between a vertebrate and arthropod for a pet, which would you choose.   Why?

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