It’s time to break out of the lab and give y’all an update on what we’ve been doing in the field!
One of my favorite aspects of science is getting outside to set up experiments; I worked my way through college as a field tech for several labs on the University of Montana campus, and even though I love my time in our lab with the animals, when I heard about the opportunity to get outside I jumped at it.
MBHI is participating in a multi-year collaborative insect abundance survey; the study aims to better understand the massive declines of insect populations across the globe. It’s easy to get sucked into the doom-and-gloom predictions of the impending insect apocalypse, but through outreach and education, MBHI hopes to give everyone the tools and resources to help mitigate insect declines.
In order to measure insect abundance in accordance with the other researchers involved around the country, we had to use a specific style of Malaise trap, which is shown in the pictures.
Once the malaise trap is constructed, it resembles a tent; the insects fly in and are directed into the highest corner of the tent, and are funneled into a jar of ethanol. After the trap is taken down, the insects will be identified and weighed together to get a sense of the overall insect biomass in the area.
As stated above, the study will take place over multiple years, and ideally over multiple locations. These photos are from our first and only trapping session (so far!). Stay tuned for more field updates in the future.