Aquatic insects such as caddisflies rely on having access to water for at least some of their life cycle. In this project, we collect data to catalog species diversity of caddisflies in an intermittent stream year-round (intermittent streams are streams that flow for only part of the year), even during dry months to determine the active adult period for different species. The current phase of the project focuses on lab processing of the adult light-trap samples, in-stream sampling of larval life stages, and imaging identified samples for measurements. As a team, we will sort the benthic macroinvertebrates from the collected material and make identifications using dichotomous keys, including making “species notebook pages” to for preliminary species-level identifications. We'll visit the field site monthly to sample and work together to design additional studies for independent student projects. The goal of this semesters’ project is to sort and make species determinations of the ~17-20 taxa found at the site for the final year of data collection, collect larval data, and image voucher material for morphometrics identifications and measures of year-to-year differences (studies of morphological differences in wing shape and venation).
Sort and identify adult aquatic insects and other organisms from light trap samples. Work using a dissecting scope and use dichotomous and pictorial keys to identify organisms. Image material using a scanner for museum studies. Learn how to recognize freshwater aquatic invertebrates and identify organisms to the order and family level. Some fieldwork to make new collections.
Qualifications include interest in biology, particularly in freshwater systems, entomology; good organization skills, and attention to detail. We are also looking for students who are interested in creating resources of specimen-level information from the taxonomic literature to speed adult identifications. We enjoy working with students that are motivated to learn and seek hands-on experience in aquatic entomology. Experience with basic insect identification is useful but is not required. Students from Freshman through Senior year are encouraged to apply.