A provisional list of Canacidae (Beach Flies) from California has been collected over this past summer. Improvement upon the phylogeny across Canacidae can be used as a hypothesis-testing framework on how flies have adapted to multiple ecological niches from saline environments to freshwater ecosystems. Organizing collection information and developing identification keys to this important group will bring us closer to understanding the impressive biodiversity along the coastal.
We want to analyze stable isotope data on Canacoides nudatus (Beach Flies) from Berkeley, California to infer how the trophic position of this widespread coastal species. We couple this longitudinal analysis with a bi-regional comparison of stable isotope data on flies from Hawaii (native range) and California (introduced range) to quantify (i) how the trophic position of C.nudatus differs between native and introduced populations, and (ii) how relative trophic position as estimated by C15N values of C.nudatus compare with those of other flies at the same site. We think the hypothesis that C.nudatus shift their diet after establishment as a result of resource depletion and increasing reliance on plant-based resources, like green algae. We are interested in the value of long-term and biregional data in uncovering ecological effects of invasions.
Key words: biological invasions, stable isotopes, food webs
This project will involve curating a large number of fly collections from California. Students will learn sorting and identification techniques, sample preparation (insect pinning, genitalia dissection, slide mounting), GIS mapping, insect curation, and stable isotope analysis.
No previous experience is necessary; students will be trained during their first week in the laboratory.