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Meet Marlies Vaz Nunes
Who is Marlies?
Well, what shall I tell you about myself?
I grew up in Amsterdam, but during my childhood, my parents took us children often along to the outdoors. There I learned the love for nature. In those days I liked to take insects or tiny water creatures home, which I kept in a small terrarium/aquarium to observe them. At a somewhat later age, I started keeping a red cheek turtle (which, unfortunately, died very soon), mice, gerbils and my last pet was a rat.
Nowadays I don't have any pets anymore. In my spare time, when I do not write, I like to make walks on the beach, in the Dutch dunes or other places outdoors, where I am always on the look-out for interesting plants, animals and, of course, insects, which I try to capture with my digital camera.
My other passions are reading, and - I have just started again after a few years - knitting.
Marlies's life as a scientist
I went to the University of Amsterdam, where I studied biology and specialised in insects. After my PhD on the biological clock in the two-spotted spider mite, I ended up without a job.
I applied for research grants all over the world and finally got one in Greece: a grant to do research on spider mites for nine months at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. That was in 1983.
After my return home early '84, I had a succession of short-term grants to work at the Wageningen University (modelling the biological clock of flower induction in soybeans for 6 months); Imperial College, Silwood Park Campus (aphid biological clocks for 3 months and modelling locust locomotion for 5 months); The University of Edinburgh (biological clock of blow flies for 12 months).
A period of 18 months unemployment followed, but then I found myself back at the Silwood Park Campus, where I remained on a series of research grants, from early 1990 until the beginning of 2000, working on the biological clock of aphids.
The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki - The main library
Photo by Chggr
Through this campus I walked every day to my work in 1983-84.
The Faculty of Agriculture - In this building I worked for nine months
I took this picture in September 2012 when I visited Thessaloniki and northern Greece for holidays. I was saddened by the sorry state the building is in right now.
Photo taken in 2012 by Marlies Vaz Nunes
University of Edinburgh, the King's Buildings - Here I worked in 1987-88
Photo by M J Richardson
Imperial College at Silwood Park - I worked in the Lees Building on the right from 1990 until 2000
Photo by Mick Crawley
Marlies in Germany
From England I moved to northern Germany, to go to work at a small biological control company, that controls pests in greenhouses.
My task was to rear a number of beneficial insects, mainly lacewings and parasitic wasps, as well as their prey (aphids) and the food plants of these aphids (broad beans). On the photo you see me with the rearing cages.
This work I did for five years, after which I returned to Amsterdam, where I still live, now.
Over the years I learned
much about biological control of pests in the garden, the greenhouse and indoors, including the use of beneficial insects.
My lensography about biological control of garden pests
At the moment consisting of 16 pages on pests and 5 on beneficial insects
Biological control of garden pests
Not many people are happy when they see insects in their garden or vegetable plot, let alone when these insects appear in great numbers. No pesticides! - In ...
The common green shield bug
Palomena prasina, or common green shield bug (Order: Hemiptera; Family: Pentatomidae), belongs to the most important family of shield bug. From above they are...
The vapourer moth - wingless females and hairy caterpillars
The hairy caterpillars of the vapourer moth, Orgyia antiqua (Order: Lepidoptera; Family: Lymantriidae) belong to the prettiest we know. They are grey with re...
My big hobby is writing. During my stay in England in the 1990s, I followed a home course writing short stories and articles. This course improved my writing skills and increased my English vocabulary.
I had several articles published in gardening and writing magazines, and also columns, letters to the editor and other snippets.
Back in Amsterdam, I continued to write, but now mostly in Dutch (an exception being my squidoo lenses!). I got a few short stories published, as well as numerous articles.
Eeverything I wrote, you can find here: in https://marliesvaznunes.wordpress.com
My other hobbies are:
- reading - some of my favourite authors are Ian McEwan, Steinbeck, John Updike, Saul Bellow.
About writing and other stuff.
How to design your really weird alien
Do you write fantasy or science fiction and do you need a bizarre-looking alien for your story instead of one of those human-in-disguise aliens often shown i...
How to organise your notes
As a writer you should always carry a notebook and pen or pencil with you everywhere you go, to jot down ideas that come up out of nowhere, snatches of overh...
How to keep track of lenses that need updating
It is easy to keep track on when you updated your lenses last. You only need to go to your dashboard, click on the arrow next to "edited" and there...
Inspiration for writers: insects and the emotions they evoke
As we all know, insects can cause a great variety of emotions and moods. Writers, therefore, could use insects (and spiders) to evoke the emotions and moods ...
Fun with gerbils
This page is not about how to look after gerbils. There are enough places where you can find this information, as I will let you know later. A mongolian gerb...
What to do and see in the Jordaan district of Amsterdam
The Jordaan is located to the west of the main canals, the socalled 'grachtengordel', and lies between the Brouwersgracht (north), the Lijnbaansgracht (west)...
How and why did sex evolve?
The existence of sex is puzzling, because many organisms, such as certain plants, some reptiles (e.g. whiptail lizard; Family: Teiidae, in particular the gen...