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Flies of Neotropics Internship

DESCRIPTION: Besides being a significant portion of world biodiversity (one of every ten named organisms in the world is a fly), Diptera are extremely diverse in appearance and habits. Many species are important to humans as plant pests, vectors of disease, or pollinators. Numerous species remain unnamed or undiscovered and the distribution and habits of the majority are poorly documented. Interns will assist in surveys of the faunas of various Neotropical countries, by sorting trap samples (part of the process of discovering new species), databasing information, and/or capturing data from specimens in the National Museum of Natural History collection. Specimens prepared through this internship will be included as a part of the permanent holdings at the NMNH and museums in the countries of origin. Scientists worldwide will use the specimens to study fly biodiversity and evolutionary relationships.

QUALIFICATIONS: A minimum two-month commitment is required. Hours are flexible. Background in the biological sciences and familiarity with the use of a microscope are preferred. Knowledge of entomology, taxonomy, or how to use an identification key are desirable. Attention to detail and manual dexterity to small handle tools (i.e., forceps, small paint brushes) for manipulating small or fragile specimens are required.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:  Interns will learn how to identify flies, techniques for processing samples, and methods for preparing flies to study their morphological features. They will gain insight into the science of systematics and the operation of a large natural history collection.

TIMETABLE: Indefinite

AWARD PACKAGE: None

Project Contact Name: Allen Norrbom

Phone: 202-633-4564

E-mail: allen.norrbom@ars.usda.gov