Wednesday, February 4, 2015

December & January Updates!

Time flies when you are having fun, and we have been on a roll. I need to get everyone caught up on all the recent activities in Recent Invertebrates.

December was our end of the year and looking back we have made some great accomplishments in 2014. Here are some highlights:

Number of papers published - 2

Menard, K. L., Schuh, R. T., and J. B. Woolley. 2014. Total-evidence phylogenetic analysis and reclassification of the Phylinae (Insecta: Heteroptera: Miridae), with the recognition of new tribes and subtribes and a redefinition of Phylini. Cladistics. 30(4): 391–427

Menard, K. L. and J. B. Woolley. 2014. A Phylogenetic study of the generic relationships within the subtribe Leucophoropterina Schuh (Miridae: Phyinae: Leucophoropterini). Systematic Entomology. 39(3): 412–430

Number of papers submitted for publication – 3

Menard, K.L. (in review) A review of the genus Spanagonicus Berg (Miridae: Phylinae: Nasocorini) with the description of novel antennal characters, the description of a new species from Central America, and a key to currently known taxa. Zootaxa.

Czaplewski, N. J., Menard, K. L., and Peachey, W. D. (in review). Pallid bats in Southeastern Arizona opportunistically feeding on noxious Mesquite Bugs (Heteroptera: Coreidae: Thanus sp.) and other insects. Southwestern Naturalist.

Stigenberg, J., Boring, C.A., Ronquist, F.R. (in press) “Phylogeny of the parasitic wasp subfamily Euphorinae (Braconidae) and evolution of its host preferences” Systematic Entomology.

Number of presentations: 5

Menard, K. L. (2014) Sexy Scents: Novel new sexually dimorphic morphological characters found in Spanagonicus Berg, and implications for possible synapomorphies in the tribe Nasiocorini (Miridae: Phylinae). International Heteropterist Society Quadrennial Meeting – Washington DC.

Menard, K.L. (2014) Research on Neotropical and Old World Tropical Miridae…in Oklahoma. Entomological Society of America’s Annual Meeting – Portland, Oregon.

Menard, K.L. (2014) Highlights of the Fifth Quadrennial Meeting of the International Heteropterist Society. Entomological Society of America’s Annual Meeting – Portland, Oregon.

Menard, K.L. (2014) Recent Invertebrates in RARE. SNOMNH volunteer presentation. Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History—Norman, Oklahoma

Boring, C.A. (2014) Biodiversity on a budget: getting the most out of your available resources. Entomological Society of America’s Annual Meeting – Portland, Oregon

Number of visitor to our Department: 162

Number of specimens cataloged: over 8,297 specimens

Major collection management activities:

- All localities of the Insect and Bivalve collections were georeferenced, and will be included into the Recent Invertebrate Collection Catalog and GBIF/IdigBio

- Josh Kouri was awarded a Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program award to recurrate and identify the beetle-by-catch spiders

- Brent Tweedy completely databased the newly accessioned Mather Collection, and recurrated the Mollusk Collection, including identification of undetermined Unionidae.

- OU Law student Lindsey Campell completely databased, recurrated, and georeferenced the entirety of the Jackson Mollusk collection.

-317 hours of volunteer activities were logged in

- NSF DBI Biological Research Collections CSBR grant was resubmitted to replace cabinetry with compactors, finish databasing of collection, and replace old drawers and unit trays was submitted in August 2014.

- The entire Schnell American Beetle By-catch Accession (over 300 jars) has been recurated, pinned, and cataloged.

- Marisano James visited our department for over a month to research local Strepsiptera.

- Accessioned 6 donations (over 1,300 specimens, many of which were expertly identified material), including the following:
  • 24 vials and additional specimens of Philippine insects and arthropods collected by Dr. Cameron Siler.
  • 230 identified specimens of Miridae from Virginia, Australia, Texas, and West Virginia
  • 300 identified Arkansas and Oklahoma beetle specimens from Brian Baldwin.
  • Over 500 specimens of Guatemalan Heteroptera collected by Dr. Jack Schuster of the University of Guatemala
  • 8 specimens of millipedes, identified to species, from a study by Dr. Chris McAllister
  • 1 specimen of Prostema eilhardi from Dr. Davidson in University of Northern Alabama
- Purchased one new insect cabinet to expand space for beetle collection.

- Repurposed the wet lab to be a shared space with Herpetology and Ichthyology; established an imaging station in office of Menard.

So if it seems like I am a bit lax at updating the blog, don't worry we are staying busy : )

In December, Katrina and I both attended the National Meeting of the Entomological Society of America. This was a great conference - I saw so many good talks that I left feeling very energized. Katrina organized a symposium on the insect order Heteroptera. It went very well and her talk was great. She presented her research on antennal morphology, which she discussed on the blog in an earlier post. I understand that this research is in preparation for publication. I also organized a symposium for the meeting, and it went very well. I was proud to present a talk on how effective volunteers can be in a natural history museum. I started my career as a volunteer and I am passionate about having this avenue open for people to explore their interests.

I have been collaborating with Julia Stigenberg from the Swedish Museum of Natural History and together with Frederick Ronquist we have a paper being published in a future issue of Systematic Entomology! The paper examines the evolutionary history of the braconid wasp subfamily Euphorinae. I'm not sure when the paper will be published, but it has been accepted and will appear in a future issue.

January has been a busy month. I have been recruiting new volunteers on campus and getting everyone going. We now have 11 volunteers working and we are currently at capacity! I am starting to have to turn down volunteers because we simply do not have the space to put everyone.

We also hired a new student collections assistant, Josh Kouri. Josh has been volunteering with us for over a year and the experience has paid off! We are excited to have him get started in his new role. Josh has also applied for an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Grant, and has received a $500 award to research the wolf spiders of Cherokee and Muskogee counties. The ball is really rolling for Josh lately - he has just been accepted into a summer research program in Costa Rica. He will be joining the esteemed Jack Longino to study the ants in Costa Rica for 6 weeks! I'm so jealous! Jack advertised the position at the Entomological Collections Network Meeting (preceding the ESA meeting) and Josh immediately came to mind. I made sure he got in contact with Jack. I'm so excited for him to get this experience! I once spent a week with Jack in a remote cloud forest in Costa Rica and he is an amazing Entomologist.

Tess Sanguila is a visiting scientist from the Philippines. While Herpetology is her expertise, I have been teaching her about how to collect and preserve insects so that when she returns home she can begin to build a collection for her university. Tess is super bright and has been picking up everything as fast as I can tell her. She is possibly the fastest person I've ever trained to point mount insects - she's a natural.

Tess and I have been going through parts of our collection that have not been used in a LONG time. We found a long series of Boll Weevils from Oklahoma in the 1950's. This is a great find because the Boll Weevil was part of a successful eradication program in the 1980's. We have also found a long series of butterflies that we collected in Mexico during the 1970's. We are going to rehydrate the specimens and prepare them. Hopefully we are able to salvage as many specimens as possible.

Well that is all for now. Have a good day!