Peter Oboyski, Sr. Museum Scientist

Closed (1) California Oak Gall project

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2017 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2017.

Insects are important participants in ecological interactions and drivers of evolutionary change in plant communities. Interactions range from pollination, many forms of herbivory, disease vectoring, and decomposition. The Insect-Plant Interaction project is currently focused on gall-inducing cynipid wasps on oak trees. These wasps lay their eggs on particular species of oaks, causing abnormal growths (galls) that the wasp larvae inhabit. In recent years we have noticed individual trees with high levels of infestation, which may be related to drought, individual tree chemistry, or some combination of these and other factors.

Students will be trained in methods of insect collecting, rearing, and preparation of specimens to be deposited in the Essig Museum of Entomology. Students will also do literature searches and data entry to build a basic knowledge base of oak - cynipid wasp interactions.

Qualifications: An interest in insects and natural history is essential. Some basic knowledge of insect biology or identification is desirable, but not essential.

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs

Related website: http://essig.berkeley.edu/
Related website: http://nature.berkeley.edu/~oboyski67/

Closed (2) Insect & spider survey of Sulawesi (Indonesia)

Applications for Fall 2017 are now closed for this project.

The Essig Museum is part of an ongoing large-scale collecting effort on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. We anticipate collecting vast quantities of bizarre and fascinating arthropods, many of which will be new to science. The two main goals of the project are to document the biological diversity of the island and understand how this biodiversity changes over different habitats and elevation. We are looking for URAP students to help sort, photograph, label, and prepare specimens for identification and documentation.

URAP students will sort specimens to Order (beetles, flies, moths, bees, etc.) and label and mount representatives of each "morphospecies" (ie. groups of unique looking specimens) on pins. Representatives of each morphospecies will be photographed and posted to the project website and social media.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Dr. Peter Oboyski

Qualifications: An interest in working with insects and spiders is required. Previous experience with sorting and preparing arthropod specimens is desirable but not essential. Previous experience with macrophotography is desirable but not essential.

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs

Related website: http://essig.berkeley.edu/
Related website: http://nature.berkeley.edu/~oboyski67/

Closed (3) Butterfly mapping

Applications for Fall 2017 are now closed for this project.

The Essig Museum is one of the largest university collections of terrestrial arthropods in the country and the largest collection of California insects anywhere. Our specimens are derived from both research projects at Cal as well as generous donations from private collectors. The Essig Museum recently received a donation of hundreds of specimens of California butterflies spanning over 50 years of collecting by two brothers. We are looking for URAP students to be responsible for organizing this new accession; capturing the label data and georeferencing the locality for each specimen in our online, open-access database; and take high quality images of representative specimens. Students will also have the opportunity to see behind the scenes of a natural history museum.

URAP students will handle pinned specimens of butterflies and moths, learn how to use several types of imaging systems, learn data entry procedures for the Essig database, and learn georeferencing best practices to allow collecting locations to be displayed on interactive maps.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Dr. Peter Oboyski

Qualifications: Previous experience working with pinned insects is desirable but not essential. A basic understanding of computer software (eg. spreadsheets, web navigation, etc.) is required.

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs

Related website: http://essig.berkeley.edu/
Related website: http://essigdb.berkeley.edu/

Closed (4) Walkingstick insect colony wranglers

Applications for Fall 2017 are now closed for this project.

The Essig Museum maintains colonies of several walking stick species. These species were part of a previous research project on the origins and mechanics of flight and are being maintained for future research and outreach events. Some of the colonies are species not native to North America and so require special attention to prevent accidental release.

The URAP student, under the direction of the supervisor, will maintain the walking stick colonies, which includes: harvesting blackberry branches to feed to the insects, removing old branches, managing eggs and newly hatched insects, and maintaining a proper rearing environment.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Dr. Peter Oboyski

Qualifications: An interest in maintaining a live colony of bizarre and interesting insects is required. Previous experience is desirable but not essential.

Weekly Hours: 3-6 hrs

Related website: http://essig.berkeley.edu/
Related website: http://essig.berkeley.edu/resources/essig_bulletin.shtml