Caddisflies are aquatic insects closely related to moths and butterflies, but have an aquatic larval life stage with unique building behaviors. Species are distributed throughout California and much information is available as digital records from museum collections, publicly accessible databases, and within the scientific literature that can be harvested to understand distribution, patterns of speciation and morphology. In this project, we use existing digital museum and literature data to (1) understand morphological variation in species and (2) build resources for speeding identifications when we return to campus.
As a team, we will perform morphometric analyses on existing digital records of museum material from the Essig Museum of Entomology, other museum collections, and the scientific literature. We will catalog and extract images and information from the published scientific literature to both directly analyze and to build out resources for our return to the laboratory. The final products of this semester will be (1) an archive of morphological illustrations from the literature, (2) procedures and identification of structures for geomorphic morphometrics of caddisflies, and (3) distribution maps and “species notebook pages” of species of Caddisflies in California and the Western United States.
Work using the Trichoptera Literature Database, GBIF and museum databases, the scientific literature remotely. Manage digital files and database records. Collaborative with other undergraduates using google apps, lucidchart and through regular zoom meetings to work in real-time. Learn caddisfly morphology as needed.
Qualifications include interest in biology, particularly in freshwater systems, entomology; good organization skills, and attention to detail. We are especially 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 experience in aquatic entomology. Experience with basic insect identification not required this semester. Students from and year in program are encouraged to apply.