The Tans Will Fade, but the Barcodes Will Last Forever

Hello again everyone,

This will be my final blog of the season, as the summer wraps up and all the students head back to school. This past week was my final week working in BIO as a student, but luckily for me I get to come back as a full time employee! My summer at BIO was absolutely amazing, between learning how to work in the lab, and the multiple field work experiences I got to have. I collected aquatic invertebrates on the BIObus when I went to Point Pelee National Park, set up bucket and malaise traps at rare Charitable Research Reserve, and collected as many insects as possible at the rare Bioblitz! My favourite part of field work was my trip on the BIObus. We got to see three beautiful parks, go canoeing as part of our collecting, and had lots of campfires once our sorting was done at the end of the day.

Josh and I canoeing out to collect some aquatic invertebrates in Point Pelee National Park
Josh and I canoeing out to collect some aquatic invertebrates in Point Pelee National Park
Dragonfly in Point Pelee National Park
Dragonfly in Point Pelee National Park
A stinging wasp grabbing some dinner in Point Pelee National Park
A stinging wasp grabbing some dinner in Point Pelee National Park

Most of my time this summer was spent in the lab, processing specimens, tissue sampling and labeling larger insects, and voucher recovering specimens coming back from being barcoded. I worked on processing Canadian malaise traps this summer, from British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Ontario. Throughout the four months of the summer, I created 319 plates of specimens, labeled 42 boxes of specimens, tissue sampled 70 boxes of specimens, and voucher recovered 311 plates of specimens. Each plate/box contains 95 insect specimens, so this means that I personally put 30 305 individual insects into plates, put 3990 labels into boxes, pulled 6650 legs off of insects, and voucher recovered 29 545 specimens. This comes out to a total of 70 490 insect specimens I prepared between May and August. That’s a lot of insects! If you imagine that we have seven other students doing the exact same thing, along with all of the full time staff that process as well, we end up having a huge number of specimens, and a very efficient team!

Trap FILLED with Diptera (flies) waiting to be pinned
Trap FILLED with Diptera (flies) waiting to be pinned
Microplates and matrix boxes stacked in the archives
Microplates and matrix boxes stacked in the archives

I learned a lot this summer and had some really great experiences. I hope you guys enjoyed learning about my adventures this summer!

Thanks for reading one last time,

-Jesse

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