Insects are the most diverse group of organisms on earth, with close to one million described species and millions more waiting in the wings. This immersion offers the rare opportunity to access the University’s world-renowned Insect Collection and its dizzying diversity of specimens!
You’ll start by examining insects, up close and by the thousands, in order to learn how to identify major insect groups. You’ll also explore methods of insect collection and observation, and see how insects fit into the natural world. After lunch, we’ll take up our nets and tour the Saint Paul campus for a lesson in collection.
The day will conclude with a presentation that stresses the importance of hand-drawn illustrations to insect taxonomy, and why these drawings are still considered useful (and often a better means to illustrate scientific concepts) despite their technologically advanced counterparts. The drawings viewed will include the stunning work of the Insect Collection Director Ralph Holzenthal.
Participants should be prepared to walk on uneven and potentially damp terrain. Tuition includes breakfast and lunch. Itinerary subject to change.
Ralph Holzenthal, PhD, Clemson University, is professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota, where he oversees the Insect Collection. An accomplished insect illustrator, he is considered a world authority on caddisflies. Holzenthal is a recipient of the University’s Outstanding Contributions to Graduate and Professional Education Award.
Robin Thomson, PhD, University of Minnesota, is curator of the Insect Collection at the U of M, where she also teaches in the Honors Program in Environmental Science. An expert in micro-caddisflies, Thomson is the recipient of a Smithsonian Institution Fellowship, a Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, and the Outstanding Entomology Graduate Student Award.