Wednesday, June 29, 2016

NSF Summer Internship

Jeff is a undergraduate studying Biology at MiraCosta College in the city of Oceanside located in southern California.  He is currently completing a 2-month long summer research experience through the Summer Research Opportunities Program at the University of Illinois.  He is working with the DeWalt lab at the Illinois Natural History Survey as part of their NSF CSBR 1458285 - "Natural History: Securing Alcohol Types and Donated Alcohol Specimens at the INHS Insect Collection".

Day 1
June 25,2016
On Saturday June 25th at 7:30am, a team of researchers and undergrads conducting research on various disciplines of entomology loaded equipment and gear into field vehicles and headed out on our 8-hour road trip to Hayward Wisconsin.  The team includes Edward DeWalt, Matt Yoder, Dimitri Dmitriev, Alex Nelson, and myself Jeff Jaureguy.  Among (many) other things our equipment and gear consisted of dip nets, beating sheets, trays, forceps, 95% ethanol, and a tremendous amount of bug spray.  The reason I am going on this trip is to conduct research and determine if stream size influences species abundance and species richness of caddisflies. 

Ed car-top blacklighting. Creative Commons License
   We drove through the beautiful “flat” state of Illinois and arrived at our destination Hayward Wisconsin by about 6pm.  That same night a large storm hit the town of Hayward and the surrounding areas and caused trouble for our plans to collect insects that night.  The storm was such a hamper that it caused the hotel electricity to black out until the next day.  We decided to head out anyways that night when the storm became less intensive and Dr. DeWalt ended up giving us an introductory lesson on black lighting and how to collect specimens of various insects for preservation in alcohol.  Black lighting is when you set up an ultraviolet light at night time with a tray of ethanol set underneath to catch the insects that are attracted to the light.   The insects swarmed around the light, falling into the tray to become our victims of science.  It was difficult getting used to all the creepy crawlies flying into my face, buzzing in my ears, and devouring my flesh, but after a while you become desensitized to the experience.  We collected an abundance of caddisflies (Trichoptera) and mayflies (Ephemeroptera), along with other various insects.  This was a amazing introductory lesson to the exciting adventure ahead of us.  Stay tuned for more amazing stories and PS we really hope this happens to us some time this week!!!  

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