I am an undergraduate student in the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Sciences at the University of Minnesota, currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife with an emphasis in conservation biology. I started working with Dr. Paul Tinerella as a biodiversity analyst for his insect collection digitization projects. This meant taking thousands of pictures and scans of curated insects. A few pinning and pointing lessons from the entomology department’s newest graduate student, Gretchen Wilbrant, and I was eager to learn and participate more. Eventually, Dr. Tinerella caught on to my interest and invited me to take part in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF-REU). I am now working on updating the presence and absence data of aquatic Heteroptera (water bugs) in Minnesota and nearby states, as well as assessing trends in historical and present day distributions using georeferencing and mapping software. Additionally, we aim to fill in some missing information about the life history and biology of several known species. In a brief review, I found over 100 aquatic Heteroptera species known or thought to reside in Minnesota. I cannot wait to discover these species for myself and pursue a greater understanding of aquatic entomology, ecology, and biogeography.
- B.S. Fisheries and Wildlife (Conservation Biology) – University of Minnesota (2014)