Back in October, BIO sent out teams to three different museums to collect specimens. Both Connor and Angela have already outlined the details of their trips, so now it’s my turn! Valerie Levesque-Beaudin and I drove up to Montreal (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue specifically) to visit the Lyman Entomological Museum and Research Laboratory on the Macdonald Campus of McGill University.
The Lyman Entomological Museum collection houses 2.8 million specimens of insects and other arthropods, making it the second largest insect collection in Canada, and the largest university insect collection in the country. Our goal at Lyman was to collect as many Coleoptera and Hymenoptera species as we could, to further add to our DNA Barcode Library on BOLD. As we have previously sent teams to the Lyman collection twice before, we were also returning all of the specimens that we pulled from last year’s trip (over 4,000 specimens!). The director of the museum, Dr. Terry Wheeler, has always been very helpful with our efforts to barcode their museum specimens. One benefit to a partnership with museum collections is that not only do we get to add the species DNA to our library, but every specimen that we borrow from a museum also gets imaged and databased; the museum gets access to all of this information that may otherwise not have been available online and can then be easily accessed/analyzed. (P.S. check out the Lyman Entomological Museum’s blog! https://lymanmuseum.wordpress.com/)
Val and I also had a chance to drive up to Quebec City to visit Jan Klimaszewski at the Laurentian Forestry Centre. Jan is an expert of the family Staphylinidae (Rove Beetles), so we were able to focus solely on borrowing that one family of beetles. We are hoping that in turn, the DNA barcoding will help to understand the relationship between species in this megadiverse group of beetles.
Now I know you might be thinking, where’s the beef? Well one of the benefits of visiting insect collections in Montreal is the food! Val and I were very lucky indeed to use our weekend to do some culinary exploration in the city. We went to Dunn’s for smoked meat and La Banquise for poutine. So yummy! We also had a chance to settle another beef…we went to a Habs vs. Leafs game! Val is a Montreal Canadiens fan and I am a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. I got heckled a lot and we lost, which is to be expected, but we still had a lot of fun!