Project Description: 

In the forests of eastern Australia, there is an ancient radiation of extremely large (25–60 mm or about the size of your thumb) predatory beetles. Species in the group are wonderfully diverse with some having massive heads and huge asymmetrical jaws. Others are brilliantly metallic colored. This SPUR project will focus on species in the genera Nurus and Nuridius, that include highly range-restricted species (many only known from one rainforest mountain top) that are very usual in that the females make burrows, encase their eggs in mud capsules, and then brood the emerging larvae. All species in the group are more or less threatened by habitat being converted to agriculture, impacts of climate change, and decimation by introduced predators like cane toads. Numerous species remain undescribed and unnamed. This project aims to fit these genera in a higher-level phylogeny using DNA sequence data and morphological data, compile all specimen and life history data, and describe currently undescribed species. Ultimately the full complement of natural history data and list of species diversity will be available for conservation management purposes.

Undergraduate's Role: 

Students on the project, dependent on skills and interests, will contribute to molecular lab aspects, for example, DNA extraction and PCRing, museum specimen imaging with a digital imaging system, and specimen data capture.

Undergraduate's Qualifications: 

Strong interest in entomology and/or molecular lab methods. Highly organized and able to focus on details. 

On Campus
To be negotiated