A provisional list of Canacidae (Beach Flies) from Hawaii 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. While many of these flies are found around the world, one lineage in the Hawaiian Islands has lost the ability to tolerate saline habitats and currently occupies high elevation freshwater streams. Organizing collection information and developing identification keys to this important group will bring us closer to understanding the impressive biodiversity of these tropical islands.
This project will involve curating a large number of fly collections from Hawaii. Students will learn sorting and identification techniques, sample preparation (insect pinning, genitalia dissection, slide mounting), GIS mapping, insect curation, and molecular lab techniques (DNA extractions, PCRs, and phylogenetic analysis).
No previous experience is necessary; students will be trained during their first week in the laboratory.