Peter Oboyski, Sr. Museum Scientist

Closed (1) Photographing Bees

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

UCB campus: Bees are responsible for pollination of many food crops, but also native plants. Concerns over insect declines globally, and bees in particular, have prompted researchers to better understand their biology and environmental threats. However, this requires being able to identify bees from survey projects. In this project we will build identification, including high resolution photographs of native California bees.

Under guidance and direction of museum scientists, students will learn about the different families of bees and how to identify them. Students will also learn techniques in macrophotography to photograph bees from different angles and particular parts of bees important for identification.

Qualifications: Previous experience working with insects and/or photography is preferred, but not required.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

Related website: https://essig.berkeley.edu

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

Applications for fall 2021 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 are collecting vast quantities of bizarre and fascinating arthropods, some 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.

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: 6-8 hrs

Related website: https://essig.berkeley.edu/sulawesi-expedition-2016/

Closed (3) Habitat restoration to promote native insects

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

The UC Berkeley campus harbors many species of plants, arthropods, birds, and other organisms. Native plant species, in particular, provide food resources and shelter for many species of insects, while three-dimensional structure of plant communities can provide varying microhabitats attractive to different kinds of arthropods. The Essig Museum is working with the campus landscape team to develop native plant communities around the Valley Life Science Building to promote native insects as well as develop an outdoor education space for interactive learning.

URAP students will help remove non-native vegetation, prepare soils for planting, and cultivate native plants. Students will also help implement a monitoring system to track the colonization and use of this new landscape by insects, spiders, and other organisms. , Staff Researcher

Qualifications: Previous experience in landscaping or gardening is desirable but not essential. Finding joy and fulfillment in getting dirty and learning about insect-plant relationships is required.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

Related website: https://essig.berkeley.edu/restoration/

Closed (4) Walkingstick insect colony wranglers

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

This project is on-campus and will require completing a self-administered health questionnaire each day you visit campus (probably twice per week for 2-3 hours each time).

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. These 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. Students will also collect data on stick insect behavior.

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

Weekly Hours: 3-5 hrs

Related website: https://essig.berkeley.edu/walkingsticks/