Critter IDing Day 1 (4/4/2013)

IMG_1847Today started off with a comprehrensive presentation by Ivana to introduce the rest of us to our new arthropod friends! Thank you Ivana for putting in extra time to identify 40 different morphotypes and put together this presentation!!! The first half of the presentation introduced us to important orders and families and how to distinguish between them. We focused on critters within:

  • Collembola (springtails)
  • Arachnida (spiders)
  • Psocoptera (book lice)
  • Thysanoptera (thrips)
  • Hemiptera (true bugs)
  • Neuroptera (lacewings, antlions, snakefiles)
  • Coleoptera (beetles)
  • Diptera (flies)
  • Lepidoptera (moths, butterflies, caterpillars)
  • Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps)

The second half of the presentation consisted of a slideshow of most of the morphotypes Ivana had already identified.
Both parts of the presentation can be found on the smartsite and the morphotype slideshow will be updated as we find new morphotypes. These powerpoints will be very useful as we continue to delve into sorting samples and IDing critters!

Ivana also quickly went over protocol for sorting through our beating and sweeping samples:

  • Pour out sample onto sorting tray
  • Sort insects using the lanes on the trays
  • Use the microscope to examine and identify each specimen
    -Work in pairs to check each other’s work
    -Ivana, Kyle, Louie, and Will are available to help with tough samples or something new
    -If a new morphotype is found, photograph it and assign it a description for the data sheet
  • Tally abundances of each morphotype for each sample on the data sheet

Before actually delving into sorting and IDing, we quickly discussed to what level we will (eventually) want to ID samples. We may want to ID some to species level, though this will require the expertise of Louie, Will, Ivana, Kyle, and perhaps some help from the Bohart. Louie also brought up “phylogenetically corrected diversity.” The idea is that, when looking at diversity of a sample, there is a big difference between finding 3 cynipids (as they are all closely related) and finding individuals from 3 different families. We will have to further discuss and decide what is important to our study when considering diversity.

After a quick break, we got to sorting! A few of us were hesitant about the learning curve, but it wasn’t too long before we started to quickly recognize morphospecies. In a little over an hour we had completed 7 samples and found at least 5 new morphospecies! Plus this was a lot of fun! Jenn got particularly excited about a pretty Psocopter. And Robyn learned how to blend in with the entomology crowd: the singular of thrips is…thrips!

IDing teams hard a work:

IMG_1857IMG_1856 IMG_1854



All of our processed samples! Today's 7 samples plus the extra work  Ivana had done prior to class!

All of our processed samples! Today’s 7 samples plus the extra work Ivana had done prior to class!

Tuesday’s Agenda

900-940: Recap sorting protocol, data sheet, and new morphospecies; develop quality check protocol

940-1130: Break into teams and continue sorting/IDing the beat and sweep samples

1130-1150: Discuss future game plan for IDing; discuss/prep for field days (Thursday, Friday, Sunday)

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