Office of Undergraduate Research

Survey of Insect Diversity at the UWM Field Station

Conservation of biodiversity requires knowledge of the species that are present. Insects are a large component of biodiversity because of their staggering species richness - more than half of global species diversity consists of insects. The Field Station requires more information on the insects that occur here. We plan to work with the Director of the UW-Madison Insect Collection, to conduct insect surveys at the Field Station. We will focus on two groups of insects - the order Coleoptera (beetles) and pollinating insects. A beetle survey at the Field Station is likely to reveal new state and county records, and will advance our knowledge of this important group. Pollinating insects provide a vital service to plants by moving pollen among individuals, thereby facilitating plant reproduction. Pollinators are declining in many areas, so surveys to establish baseline information are necessary. This will be the first survey for pollinating insects at the Field Station.

Tasks and responsibilities:

The pollinator surveys will be concentrated on the prairie communities, and will consist of observing open flowers in these communities on a weekly basis. Insects visiting flowers will be observed and photographed, and some will be collected. We will identify the insects from the photographs and collected specimens. Students will collect data on the species of pollinators visiting the plants, the types of flowers visited, and abundance of pollinators over the season.