Maggots. Offspring of the humble blowfly, they are generally disliked but their interaction with society cannot be denied. Their attraction to smelly, bacteria-rich environs makes them common inhabitants of our rubbish bins. This behaviour also attracts them to decomposing corpses where we use them to estimate time since death. We malign them for their role in flystrike, killing our sheep, but their love of flesh also sees them removing the dead tissue from wounds, and saving limbs. This talk will explore the role of the humble maggot, and discuss some important issues such as why they breathe out of their bums, why drugs give them the munchies, and how fly poo could catch a killer!
Associate Professor Michelle Harvey is the course director for Forensic Science at Deakin University. Specialising in the study of the humble blowfly, she teaches in the field of forensic biology, particularly human decomposition and the estimation of time since death based on maggots. Her research further extends to the importance of blowflies in flystrike and in the debridement of necrotic wounds on humans, and understanding how we can better understand the much maligned but highly important blowfly. She has studied, and worked in the UK, South Africa and the US, including time spent at human decomposition research facilities.