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Characterization of the fossil insects of the Kishenehn Formation Fossil Insect Collection



This virtual internship project for the summer of 2020 focuses on the characterization of the fossil insects of the Kishenehn Formation Fossil Insect Collection.  Through this internship students will be given the opportunity to organize over 500 high-resolution photographs of fossil beetles. The intern will learn how to divide the specimens into distinct morphotypes and create separate computer files to store them. Mentors will then teach interns how to identify a small number (<10) specimens that are particularly well-preserved and attempt to identify them to the Family level. Eventually, interns will learn how to identify at least one specimen to the genus level and if the specimen can be determined to be unique, it will be assigned a species name.

The photographs will be provided to the student via Dropbox. Taxonomic information and published online keys to help with learning how to identify the specimens will be provided as links via e-mail. The mentor and the intern(s) will communicate via e-mail.

The student must be at least 14 years old, have a background in/familiarity with insects, an interest in fossils and be available for the required time period. The intern must have a computer at their home, access to the internet and an e-mail account.

The internship is designed to help students gain an appreciation for how scientists identify and classify living organisms. The intern will learn the various levels of taxonomic organization, from species to phyla, and how to use keys that are available in the literature to identify individual specimens to various levels.

Eventually, the intern will attempt to identify a new species, and, in doing so, learn how to use morphological data to establish the uniqueness of the specimen and differentiate it from all other known organisms.

The intern must commit to a minimum of ten hours/week for the period from 15 June 2020 to 15 August 2020.

Interested students should provide a complete and current resume/cv; a brief cover letter explaining their qualifications, reason for interest in the internship, learning objectives for the virtual internship project; and the contact information for three professional references. Please assemble all materials into a single document and include your last name in the file name. Send the document as an attachment via email to the contact listed below.


Dale Greenwalt