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.
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Tag Archives: taxonomy
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
I’m surprised. OK, lots of things surprise me, but this week I’m particularly surprised at the response to my post last week about why taxonomy matters. That post was more “Liked”, shared, tweeted and viewed, by a huge margin, than … Continue reading
Here in the lab we do both taxonomy and ecology. The balance between the two shifts back and forth depending on projects and time of year and the like; in the last couple of weeks, things have definitely swung towards … Continue reading
The first part of this post took us from fieldwork to pinned specimens. After insect specimens are mounted and labelled, the real taxonomic work starts. The Linnean hierarchy (class, order, family, genus, etc.) isn’t just a list of categories to … Continue reading
Sometimes I think there might be such a thing as too much data. I expanded my research program a few years ago from just taxonomy and systematics, into community ecology of insects. This meant I had to change the way … Continue reading
It’s always a big day in the lab when a grad student finishes their project, particularly when the student is a Ph.D. candidate because the oral defense of the thesis provides a very obvious punctuation mark on the entire program. … Continue reading
I write a blog (two, actually), I post my lectures on my course web site, I publish papers in on-line journals and send PDF reprints to colleagues, I read published papers on the web, I communicate with collaborators through Skype … Continue reading
It’s the Victoria Day long weekend in Canada – the unofficial start of summer. Thirty years ago I would have spent the weekend outdoors, in a rowdy crowd of friends, drinking beer, and living on a diet I would rather … Continue reading
Of the millions of species of insects on earth, many are undescribed, many are currently impossible to identify from published keys or photos, and many identification keys are not as clear as they could be. That’s not news to people … Continue reading