Justin Lee has worked in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey W. Shultz for two semesters studying the systematics of North American Harvestmen (commonly known as ‘Daddy Long Legs’). Justin says “These small, spider-like arachnids are a familiar sight in one’s house or backyard, but are surprisingly poorly known. Recent research suggests that species diversity in North American Harvestmen is severely underestimated, especially in the southern part of the US. Our work focuses on describing new species of Harvestmen from the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. We have discovered three new species that were “masquerading” under a single widespread species called Leiobunum calcar. All three species are differentiated from “true” L. calcar by their reproductive morphology and the size and shape of their pedipalps.” In addition to Justin’s work with Dr. Shultz, he also works in the Wilkinson Lab in UMD’s Department of Biology studying Stalk-Eyed Fly morphology and is a research fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History where he studies the systematics of Southeast Asian Amphibians and Reptiles.
Madeline Potter is a fourth year Environmental Horticulture major and sustainability minor. She joined the Shrewsbury Entomology Lab, Spring 2018, aiding in research projects and beginning her own Entomology Honors Program project. Madeline’s independent research project aims to elucidate and enhance the impact of the exotic egg parasitoid, Trissolcus japonicus, on the invasive, crop damaging, Halyomorpha halys (brown marmorated stink bug). Trissolcus japonicus is a dominant egg parasitoid of H. halys, in H. halys’s native range. Madeline would like to thank Dr. Paula Shrewsbury, Dr. Rebeccah Waterworth and several others for supporting her throughout her experience and education within the University of Maryland Entomology Department. Madeline plans to complete the UMD Entomology Honors Program and attend graduate school in the future.
Catherine (Cady) Trelstad, is a sophomore biology student. For the past several months she has been working in Dr. Pick’s lab studying pair rule genes in mosquitoes. Working alongside Dr. Alys Jarvela she has been tasked with performing both in situs and double in situs on Drosophila Melanogaster and Anopheles stephensi in order to compare gene expression between the two species. Catherine says,”Working in the lab has been a phenomenal and very rewarding experience. It has helped me develop a strong eye for detail and allowed me to expand my horizons in the field of research.”
Over the last two semesters, Betsy has analyzed spider communities in the Hawaiian Islands in Dr. Gruner’s lab. Her goal is to gain a better understanding of which ecosystem factors influence the assemblage of a predator community. Because Hawaii is made up of several volcanic islands of differing ages, it is a good system for studying differences in communities at different stages of primary community assembly. She says, “So far, I have found that age is not a good predictor for abundance of most spider families; instead, their abundance may be based on other environmental factors, like canopy structure or available plant types. Recently, I have also joined a project studying parasitoids of the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive pest in the United States.”