Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Species of the Beiser Field Station

I've been busy lately, in a good way. My current project is identifying all the species of insects, spiders, millipedes, and other arthropods I've found at the Barbara A. Beiser Field Station (BBFS) over the past few years as an undergraduate at Marietta College. I spent many hours at the field station and thoroughly explored much of it, taking many photos along the way. I have an article about my experiences coming up in the next issue of the Marietta Natural History Society's newsletter, which I'll link to when it comes out.

UPDATE!: You can read my article here (PDF warning). It starts on page 4, titled Beiser Browsings.

So far I've identified around 200 arthropods from BBFS. The timeline for my sightings and collections goes back to 2010 or so, when I first started going there for things like labs and work days, and the identifications have been a long time in coming. It feels great to have so many identified though, as there hasn't been a taxonomic inventory of BBFS since it was acquired in 2008.

I expect the final list of creepy crawlies to hover around 220, after accounting for duplicates. Some of them are only identified down to family, but I've identified the majority down to species, including some lesser-known groups (that is, those that lack readily-available identification resources) such as harvestmen and millipedes. I've collected many of the species, which are now in the Biology department's insect collection. I'm hoping that somewhere down the line, these collections will come in handy for future students, especially my assassin bug and millipede specimens.

I've found so many charismatic species that have blown me away at BBFS. Combined with the recently-planted patch of pawpaws at BBFS, I expect people to start flocking there in droves in the coming years.

A harvestman from BBFS, Vonones sayi. This pretty species lives under rocks and bark, and exhibits some of the diversity within the harvestmen: they're not all nondescript balls with legs!

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