Insect diversity @ McGill
Stories about our collection of three million unique little volumes of biodiversity, the people who build and use it, and the research we do. And the odd rumination upon the nature of science and scientists.
All content copyright Terry A. Wheeler 2011-2013, unless otherwise noted.
TagsAgromyzidae alpine arctic biodiversity Bombyliidae Braulidae Calliphoridae Canada Chloropidae Coleoptera collecting collection conferences curation databases Diopsidae Diptera DNA barcode ecology Ephydridae evolution fieldwork flies Hemiptera history Hymenoptera Ichneumonidae ideas Keroplatidae Milichiidae natural history new species Northern Biodiversity Program Phoridae plants publications Scathophagidae science culture students Syrphidae taxonomy teaching thinking
Tag Archives: natural history
My previous post was part of an exchange with Chris Buddle on whether taxonomists should describe new species without knowing their natural history. When many of the specimens upon which we base species descriptions are already long dead by the … Continue reading
My colleague Chris Buddle has asked an interesting and important question about taxonomic descriptions and natural history data. Specifically: Should taxonomists wait to describe a species until there are some details known about its natural history? Chris and I both … Continue reading
If you can hang on to your child-like sense of wonder about nature, every day is like Christmas. There are always great new things waiting to be unwrapped and discovered. I study flies, but I see little mysteries everywhere when … Continue reading
Scientists like clarity. We like to have our definitions nicely lined up. We like to label things. But that’s not always easy. I’m a taxonomist. I’m an ecologist. I’m a naturalist. I know what all those labels mean, to me, … Continue reading
I was in the mountains of North Carolina earlier this month for a short bout of fieldwork. It wasn’t my first time in those mountains – I’ve hiked there in the past, and collected insects on multiple trips, but it was … Continue reading
I’m continuing my Earth Day Weekend series on places that have made an impression on me while I’ve been out doing fieldwork. Aulavik National Park, Banks Island, Northwest Territories. This is a recent one, so it’s fresh in my mind, … Continue reading
Flies are in the news this week because of a newly published paper demonstrating that male Drosophila flies who fail to find a mate are more likely to consume more alcohol. This finding is not only scientifically interesting, it probably … Continue reading
My time and my mind have been occupied with many duties and responsibilities lately. It’s the curse of the overextended professor. I have, however, spent the past couple of days driving around the snowdrifted prairies of southern Manitoba thinking mostly … Continue reading
Diptera are fascinating insects – diverse, bizarre, economically and medically important – but underappreciated by most people other than dipterists. We launched this series in an earlier post with a selection of five randomly selected reasons flies are great. In … Continue reading
Our insect collection has its roots in an amateur collection. Predictably, that means our holdings are very strong in two orders popular with collectors – butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) and beetles (Coleoptera). We had, at last count, about 130,000 pinned … Continue reading