My Week with Entomologists – Day 1

This is my week to learn everything I can from James Trager and Mike Arduser – entomologists and ecologists from Missouri.  They (and their wives!) have very graciously agreed to spend the week in our Platte River Prairies to help inventory our insects, try to teach me a few things, and brainstorm ways I can evaluate our prairie restoration and management work from the perspective of insects.  It’s going to be a great and busy week. 

With Krista Lang looking on, James Trager points out interesting characteristics of a katydid. Pawnee County, Nebraska.

We started the week yesterday in Pawnee County, Nebraska (southeast corner of the state).  Pawnee County was on the way to our Platte River Prairies, so I met James and Mike down there and we spent the morning looking around.  Both James and Mike have helped identify insects from those prairies for various research projects I’ve been involved with, so it was good for them to be able to see some of the prairies those insect samples had come from.  It was a little wet for collecting many insects yesterday, but we got to visit some interesting prairies and had some good discussions.  We were joined by Kent Pfeiffer and Krista Lang of Northern Prairies Land Trust, and Bethany Teeters, a PhD student at the University of Nebraska. 

Mike and James (center) discuss prairie ecology with Nebraska biologists.

Even in the first hour or two in the prairies, it was clear that I’m going to learn a tremendous amount this week.  James and Mike were definitely seeing the prairies through different lenses than I was, and noticing insects and habitat qualities I wouldn’t have thought about.  Back in graduate school, I studied the impacts of habitat fragmentation on grassland birds, and I remember beginning to look at prairies differently as I learned more about how birds evaluate them.  I can see that I’ll be doing some similar perspective shifting again this week. 

While sporadic light rain kept us from seeing too many insects, there were a few around, including this grasshopper nymph on rough blazing star.

For those of you coming to our field day this Friday, you’ll have a chance to meet and interact with Mike and James – and other experts.  For the rest of you, I’ll try to capture some of the big lessons from the week in future blog posts.

Stay tuned…

Thank you to Kent, Krista, and Bethany for taking the time to help show Mike and James (and me!) around the prairies yesterday.  Also, thank you to Prairie Biotic Research Inc. for the grant that is helping to fund the travel costs for Mike and James to come work with me this week.

About these ads

About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is an ecologist and Eastern Nebraska Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. He supervises the management and restoration of approximately 4,000 acres of land in central and eastern Nebraska - primarily along the central Platte River. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press.
This entry was posted in General, Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to My Week with Entomologists – Day 1

  1. Tim Siegmund says:

    Wish I could be there. Looking forward to the future posts, and thanks for the update.

  2. James McGee says:

    Glorious rain! I wish we had some. If it was not for the kettle topography there would not be any water here at all. The sloughs are almost dry. The folk on the Grand Praire must really have it bad. No corn or beans for the farmers this year.

  3. Heather says:

    Very interested to hear what you learn from the entomologists. Looking forward to your post.

  4. Karen Hamburger says:

    Chris

    I cant wait to be a part of this!!!!

    Karen

  5. Pingback: First Impressions From My Insect Week | The Prairie Ecologist

  6. Pingback: First Impressions From My Insect Week | The Prairie Ecologist

PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS POST!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s