Expeditions

The latest news

I haven’t posted any news about the Museum in what seems like FOREVER. So here’s what’s been happening, in short snippets, during the last couple months:

  • In March I traveled to South Australia to talk about ongoing projects (and hash out future research ideas) with my colleagues John Jennings and Andy Austin. We traveled 1200 km or so through eastern SA and western VIC, collecting along the way. I’ll write a separate post about this adventure, complete with pictures and more details. In the meantime, see if you can figure out what this mystery wasp (above) is and where/how it was collected!
  • World-class Hymenoptera morphologists Gary Gibson and Lars Vilhelmsen were here for a couple weeks to help us jam on the Hymenoptera Anatomy Ontology. We got some incredible feedback and will be talking about this work at the International Congress of Hymenopterists in Kőszeg, Hungary this June (at least seven Insect Museum people will be attending!) Thankfully, Lars made it safely back to Copenhagen despite Eyjafjallajökull’s best efforts…
  • We finished databasing our bumble bees (Apidae: Bombus spp.) and have moved on to Coccinellidae, while we also mix in some Heteroptera. We’ll bounce between bees and ladybird beetles for the next couple months. Time for us to tackle the GBIF bureaucracy so that we can become a provider!
  • István Mikó is visiting the Canadian National Collection for a few weeks in order to finish an ongoing revision and to look for more Ceraphronoidea material we can borrow.
  • We’re continuing our massive shuffle of equipment and furniture in the Museum, optimizing the space for a blend of digitizational (I know, that’s not a word) activities – from GigaPan (check out the Fulgoroidea drawers; we’ll finish Hemiptera in May), to collecting event data entry, to type imaging, to barcoding and sorting.
  • Five of us will be attending the digitization meeting at NESCent, today through Friday. Here’s the original post about the last meeting. Time to synthesize community feedback and write up a formal plan.
  • John Ascher from the AMNH visited to help us curate our bees, especially T. H. Mitchell’s wonderful collection.
  • We’re running Malaise traps in the Sandhill region of North Carolina, as well as some familiar spots north of Durham. These traps get sorted on Wednesday evenings, over pizza (5:00-9:00pm). Everyone’s invited to join us! Send me an email if you’re interested. I’m drafting a post about the workflow, which we’re trying to standardize. It’d be great to get some feedback about our plan.
  • We initiated a departmental contest to revitalize the eight display cases that reside outside of our classrooms (see photo below), which (apparently) haven’t been updated since humans hiked through Beringia. At least two of these displays will highlight research we’re doing in the Museum. I can’t wait!

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