Project Description: 

With nearly 40,000 species worldwide and around 800 species in California, Carabid Beetles are one of our most successful and diverse groups of beetles. Therefore, they are also one of the most evolutionarily interesting and ecologically significant families of beetles. We are using DNA and morphological data to estimate the evolutionary history of these beetles and combining this with other aspects of their natural history, such as chemical ecology and biogeography, in order to better understand what makes them so diverse.

Undergraduate's Role: 

Students will learn basic carabid beetle identification characteristics and life history attributes. They will help with specimen sorting, data capture, and learn other useful entomology museum methods. Students will assist in DNA sequencing research. This work includes wet-lab protocols such as DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction, gel electrophoresis, DNA quantification, and preparation of samples for sequencing. Students will learn useful laboratory skills as well as gain an understanding of molecular genetic methods. Interested students will have the opportunity to learn techniques for digital imaging of preserved museum specimens and possibly micro-dissection methods.

Undergraduate's Qualifications: 

Applicants should have an interest in entomology, morphology, genetics, doing lab work, and be well-organized/detail-oriented. Previous experience with insects and/or DNA sequencing is a plus, but not necessary. Ability to safely handle specimens, attention to detail, excellent computer skills, and willingness to learn about phylogenetics and specimen identification.

On Campus
3-6 hours