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> July 25, 2006 - Dr. Moore and His Insects, Something buggy around here
post Jul 29 2006, 09:31 AM
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July 25, 2006 Dr. Moore and His Bugs
Temperature 75, Sunny
Day 2 of the Pluck

Working with the TREC program, I have two scientists that I am involved with. One is Dr. Gough. The second scientist is Dr. John Moore who just arrived at Toolik yesterday. His crew has been here for a couple of weeks working.

Dr. Moore works at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He has a PhD in Zoology and Entomology. Greg Selby, his lab tech, has a BA in Field Biology. They are at Toolik doing entomology work (studying insects).

Dr. Moore’s students have been at Toolik collecting soil samples and setting up pit-fall traps to capture various insects. With the change in climate and/or warming of the tundra, insects, just like plants, are changing. Dr. Moore has been studying the tundra arthropods for 10 years now.

Today I was involved with setting up for an experiment designed to extract arthropod from the soil samples. The design used simple supplies: canning jars, wire, a funnel, cheese cloth and alcohol.

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Simple supplies (Pictures appear green because we were in a green tent)

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120 soil samples that were collected and put in the refrigerator to preserve anything living

Two soil samples were used at one time. They use a tullgren funnel device. The soil samples are weighed, placed on the cheese cloth, into in the funnel, and placed on the arthropod racks.

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Selby weighing the soil samples

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Arthropod racks

This is what a tullgren funnel looks like when it is pieced together.

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Tullgren Funnel

If you notice, under the funnel is a little glass jar containing alcohol. Above the funnel (which you can’t see in the picture) is a string of Christmas lights. When the lights are turned on, they create just enough heat to make the insects uncomfortable. The insects then crawl away from the heat, fall through the funnel and into the alcohol. Dr. Moore and his students collect the insects and count and/or analysis them. How cool is that. This is definitely a wonderful project that the Carlisle Junior High will have to try!

After we finished this, I returned to Lab 2 and the pluck for another 16 hour day.

***Question of the Day: Are there butterflies in the tundra? Don't forget to answer the question in the "Ask a Teacher or Scientist" section!
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