Author Archives: terry wheeler

About terry wheeler

professor, museum director, entomologist, ecologist, naturalist

Adventures in empathy: allergies, mental health, & hard days in academia

Last week, in the midst of my 50s, I discovered the delightful horror of allergies. When I got the sore throat, I assumed it was a cold. And then my eyes caught fire. And then I got all the other … Continue reading

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The last lecture: 6 things to keep for 5 years

I finished my final class for the year in Evolution & Phylogeny the other day. The students wrote their final exam yesterday. By today I figure some of the course content has already hit its half-life and it’s on its … Continue reading

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New flies in new places

When taxonomy makes the news, it’s usually because somebody’s just described a new species. But there’s more to taxonomic research than just discovering and describing new species. A new paper from our lab that’s been published on-line in early view … Continue reading

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Open spaces: A new species of fly from the Yukon

There’s a little genus of small, rare flies that live in bird nests. They’re called Neossos, and a few years ago one of my former undergraduate students, Gregor Gilbert, pulled together what was known about the taxonomy and ecology of … Continue reading

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Suburban biodiversity: surprising flies in the neighborhood

Christine Barrie, a grad student in the lab, found a fly she couldn’t put a name on. Other students in the lab had trouble too. So did I. It looked familiar, but it didn’t key out in the standard North … Continue reading

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Fading walls: Communication, conferences, and sharing science

The front walls of the convention center are mostly glass, but you’ll need your name badge to get beyond the lobby. I was at the 100th annual conference of the Ecological Society of America in Baltimore last week. I saw … Continue reading

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Learning to sharpen your scythe

My grandfather used a scythe to cut hay. Yes. A scythe: big blade, long curved handle, Grim Reaper scythe. I remember watching the mathematical, poetical way he’d arc the blade, pivoting from the waist, mowing down a strip, stepping forward … Continue reading

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What makes a good collecting trip good?

“Have a good trip! How’s the trip going? How was the trip?” These are things people say to me before, during, and after fieldwork trips. I go into the field to collect insects. I do this because that’s where a … Continue reading

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Lines on a map. Dots on a map.

I’m crossing some lines in the Yukon. I’m searching for dots. Several lines drawn on maps define the Yukon for me. There’s a straight line across the bottom of the Territory that marks 60° north latitude. To many Canadians, “north” … Continue reading

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Why the Yukon? My love of northern entomology

I’m north of 60° again. Back in Whitehorse, Yukon for the fourth time in five years, and getting ready to head north. Beyond Dawson City, beyond the trees, up the Dempster Highway to the tundra. I’m going to collect insects. … Continue reading

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