News about studies of arctic insects
General information and editorial notes
News and Notes:
Update on Some Insect Biodiversity Activities in the Arctic during 2006
Donna Giberson, Department of
Biology, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Ave., Charlottetown,
PE C1A 4P3
The COSEWIC Arthropod Specialist Subcommittee met in Whitehorse this July, to discuss arthropod species status reports for COSEWIC and proposals for species to be included for status report preparation. Following the meeting, the various members were given the opportunity to go collecting along a sand dune area in Kluane National Park in southern Yukon. Many of the members also took the opportunity to do some collecting in other parts of the Yukon following the meeting. Many thanks to Syd Cannings of the Yukon Centre for Data Conservation, who organized the meeting with the COSEWIC secretariat and arranged the Kluane trip and the necessary permits.
Following the COSEWIC meeting, I was able to do some incidental mayfly and stonefly collecting along the highways of Yukon, including parts of the Alaska Highway, Klondike Highway, and Dempster Highway. These samples are currently being processed.
My main arctic work this summer has consisted of investigating a number of specimens that were collected for the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline study of the early 1970s. These specimens were archived at the Freshwater Institute and the CNC, but most of the material remains unidentified (at least to species). I am currently relabelling all the material, since most of the vials are identified by code numbers with little or no locality data. Once each vial has a locality label I’ll be working (in collaboration with Steve Burian and Ken Stewart) on identifying the mayflies and stoneflies of that region to species. Special thanks are owed to Dave Rosenberg who preserved these samples in the first place, and then arranged for the loan of the material from the Freshwater Institute and provided the “code books”.
Interestingly, this work has led to some further collaborations to look at material collected in the Northwest Territories. Aquatic insect samples collected for environmental assessment work in the Canadian north are rarely identified to species (usually to family, or rarely, to genus), so such data are not useful for biodiversity study. However, thanks to the collaboration with Dave Rosenberg on the initial Mackenzie Valley material, I have found out about recent ongoing studies in region by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and also have obtained material collected along Mackenzie Valley tributaries in 2005 and 2006, and along the Nahanni River as well. This has allowed us to increase our “sampling effort” in these areas with very little additional cost.
We would like to highlight insect and arachnid work from the arctic in subsequent issues of this Newsletter, so anyone doing work in the arctic who is interested in getting the word out, should contact Donna Giberson, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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