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The ESA Linnaean Games are a lively question-and-answer, college bowl-style competition on entomological facts played between university-sponsored student teams. It is an important and entertaining component of the ESA Annual Meeting. Each team is comprised of four players. The teams score points by answering questions correctly. The winning team wins an inscribed trophy cup for each team member and a plaque for the team's department. The runners-up win a certificate for each team member and a plaque for the team's department. In addition to the national game, the ESA Branches conduct their own Linnaean game competitions at their yearly Branch meetings. The winning team and the runner-up both go on to the national competition.
For previous winners of the ESA Linnaean games, please click here.
Any student wishing to participate in the games is eligible to do so as long as he/she is in a degree program at the school they represent (B.S., M.S., or Ph.D.) or has completed a degree within one year prior to the contest. Students should contact their departments of entomology directly to join a team. Teams will consist of four players plus two alternates; however fewer players are allowed. Each team should designate a Team Captain to act as spokesperson for the team (e.g. Bonus question ring-in and answer, present questions to the moderator/judges, etc.)
At the end of each game, teams may substitute designated alternates, allowing every student sent by his/her department a chance to participate. Alternates may not be substituted during the course of a game. In the event that an alternate was not pre-designated prior to the annual meeting and a regular member cannot participate, the team must compete without the services of that team member. A team roster must be submitted to the Linnaean Games Committee Chairperson by each competing University with eligible students’ names when prompted by the Chairperson (~2 months prior to the competition).
Points are scored by correctly answering questions asked by the moderator. The two types of questions are Toss-ups and Bonuses with each question worth 10 points.
Each round begins with a Toss-up question. The first player to signal answers the question. He/she must do so without consultation with other team members. He/she must be recognized by the moderator as the eligible respondent prior to giving the answer. Repeated failure to be recognized by the moderator may result in turning the question over to the opposing team. If no player signals within 10 seconds of completion of the question, no points are awarded and, the next Toss-up question begins.
If a player answers a Toss-up correctly, the team is awarded10 points and is given a chance at a Bonus question. All team members may confer on the answer to the Bonus question. The team’s captain will act as spokesperson for the team, and his/her answer will be the official one. On the turnover, a player must signal and be recognized before answering. If a player answers a Toss-up incorrectly, the question is turned over to the other team without a deduction in score to the incorrect team. If answered correctly, 10 points are awarded.
A player may interrupt the moderator before a Toss-up question has been completely read by signaling. If a correct answer is given, the team scores 10 points and is given a chance at a Bonus question. If an incorrect answer is given, the team is penalized 5 points and the entire question is repeated for the other team. A correct answer by a member of the other team scores 10 points and a chance at a bonus question. Bonus questions are never eligible to be answered by the opposing team. Questions are read in their entirety only one time.
A game consists of 16 Toss-up questions. The team with the most points at the end of the game is the winner. If the score is tied at the end of the regulation game, the tie is broken by a sudden-death playoff. The first correct answer to a Tie-Breaker Toss-up question wins the game. An incorrect answer through an interruption (an answer given before question completely read) to a Tie-Breaker loses the game.
Questions and answers are prepared by the ESA National Linnaean Games Committee. Toss-up questions are categorized according to the following subject areas: (1) Biological Control, (2) Behavior & Ecology, (3) Economic & Applied Entomology, (4) Medical, Urban & Veterinary Entomology, (5) Morphology & Physiology, (6) Biochemistry & Toxicology, (7) Systematics & Evolution, and (8) IPM & Insect/Plant Interactions. Bonus questions can come from any area of entomology but will draw heavily on the areas of history, cultural entomology, current events and people. On the average, two Toss-up questions in each game will come from each subject-area category. Note: some subject areas span multiple disciplines such as apiculture, molecular entomology, disease vectors, etc. and can be cross functional.
The champion team will be determined by tournament format in which pairings are based upon the Branch level placing and scores. The Bracket of Play will not be posted until the morning of the games.