Capture and Curation Methods for Studying Terrestrial Animals, from Insects to Mammals
WHEN: March 30 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Roanoke College, along with the Virginia Museum of Natural History, is pleased to offer "Capture and Curation Methods for Studying Terrestrial Animals". This day-long workshop will provide details about how mammals and invertebrates are captured for scientific study and how they are prepared and curated as museum specimens for long-term preservation. The instructors will also provide examples from their own research programs of how museum specimens are used to further our understanding of Virginia’s fauna.
The instructor for the mammal portion is Dr. Nancy D. Moncrief, the Curator of Mammals at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Nancy studies mammals that live on the Virginia barrier islands; she also investigates evolution in tree squirrels of eastern North America. Most native mammals in Virginia are small, secretive, difficult to identify, and are active mostly at night. Therefore, the only effective method for studying many of these species is trapping. In a half-day session, we will explore various methods of capturing mammals. Participants will accompany the instructor as she checks previously set live traps. We will observe and photograph the animals we capture, and then release them where they were caught. We will also review various other methods for studying mammals that do not require capture and handling. Many of the techniques for capturing and studying small mammals are also used for birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
The instructor for the invertebrate portion is Dr. Kal Ivanov, Assistant Curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Kal’s research focuses on the taxonomy, systematics and natural history of ants, but his interests also include biodiversity inventories, arthropod collecting techniques, community ecology and invasion biology. Virginia’s invertebrate fauna is not fully known but most of the 20,000 species expected to occur in the state are small, secretive and often difficult to find. Because they are small, and the majority cannot be identified without the examination of minute morphological characters, entomologists often make and maintain research collections. However, before the specimens make it into a research collection they have to be first captured. In a second half-day session, we will explore various ways for catching arthropods and other invertebrates. These will include, but not limited to: 1) active techniques such as hand collecting, sweep netting, and collecting with beat sheets; and 2) passive techniques such as Winkler litter extraction, pitfall traps, Malaise traps and other passive trap types, some of which are baited with small bits of sweet foods (such as cookies).
The cost of this one-day course is $35.00 and pre-registration is required. Upon payment you will receive a receipt, and a VMNH staff member will send an email confirmation, usually within several business days. The museum reserves the right to cancel the workshop, if necessary, in which case you will be refunded the full amount. If you must cancel after submitting payment, you will be refunded the full amount prior to March 15. After that date, you will receive a partial refund ($20) if you cancel. Participants must bring their own bag lunch – however, soft drinks and snacks will be provided. The workshop will include short hikes around campus to check traps, so please dress appropriately and expect to “hike”. Pants and close-toed shoes are highly suggested.