Jorge M. González
Joined Meer in March 2017
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Jorge M. González

Agricultural Engineer and entomologist; born and educated in Venezuela, naturalized in the United States. I specialized in the behavior and systematics of insects, and have researched several of them, but focused a good part of my studies on several aspects of the natural history of these arthropods, with special emphasis on certain wasps, without discarding the bees, especially those of the new world. I have had the opportunity to advise several projects including the construction of giant animatronic insects and I have worked with several mechanical engineers to develop transmitters and detectors used to manipulate the behavior of certain insects (cockroaches, crickets, grasshoppers), as well as the study of piezoelectric sensors. I have been involved in research on the effect of nanoparticles in plants and insects, trying to understand how those contaminants are translocated in living organisms. I was for years involved with zoos, advising three of them and becoming the director of one (Parque Zoológico El Pinar, Caracas, Venezuela), and I was fortunate to design the first Insectarium-Mariposarium for public use in that same place.

Watching my mother read newspapers and magazines daily inspired me to read any book or pamphlet I could get my hands on. This "learned" curiosity motivated me, since I was a child, to read books and encyclopedias, especially those dedicated to plants and animals, but very particularly to insects. I very much remember an encyclopedia that belonged to some cousins (it is still in the house of one of them), whose volume on insects is more worn than the others, highly probably because of me. In college, I turned to entomology under the guidance of the man who would become my tutor and mentor during my undergraduate studies. Eventually, under his guidance, I also became interested in explorers and researchers of the natural history of my country of origin and the Neotropics, digging through old archives and cemeteries in search of data for him, who would use them to write about a naturalist who had arrived in Venezuela at the end of the 19th century.

I specialized in Lepidoptera, primarily a group of neotropical moths (Lepidoptera: Castniidae) while an undergraduate. During my MSc and PhD studies, I researched the biology, ecology, behavior, and taxonomy of solitary mud-nesting wasps [Hymenoptera: Sphecidae (Sceliphron) and Crabronidae (Trypoxylon)] at first. In an unexpected twist, I would end up studying and specializing in a small but highly interesting group of parasitic wasps [Hymenoptera: Eulophidae (Melittobia)] that attack those solitary wasps.

During the 1980s I joined a group of researchers and conservationists exploring remote parts of the Venezuelan jungle. I wrote a book about the history of Venezuelan entomology, which also describes various insect groups mentioning activities, myths, anecdotes, and events, allowing the reader to imagine or "see" the insects without the need for figures or images. Over time I have written several chapters in books, mainly about insects, but also about explorers.

I have written almost two hundred scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, mainly on moths and wasps, but also on other groups of insects, and even some plants. I am often invited by scientific journals to referee scientific papers of other authors, in my areas of expertise and experience.

Curious as I was in my younger years, I love to travel, explore, and learn about unusual things and places. Interested in numerous topics related to history, politics, art, gastronomy, and science, one day I got the urge to write and share my stories and experiences. I have written about two hundred educational or outreach articles in various magazines in the United States and Venezuela. At least once a month, in Spanish and occasionally in English, I share my ideas and writings with friends, family, and readers through Meer (formerly Wall Street International). Thanks to its global reach, I allow myself to experiment with different types of stories, in the hope that at least someone will find them interesting.

Articles by Jorge M. González

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