Hello BIO friends! Geramy, Liam, and David here with an update on our Malaise Trap. Our catch volume for week 1 is near level 3. Since we have set up the Malaise Trap on Monday, we have checked the catch volume and the weather every single day. On Monday our class is going to virtually meet a biologist, who works on the BIObus. Our class is very excited about week 2!
7Marr set up our Malaise Trap this morning. We struggled a little with the guy ropes, but got the trap set! Jack used a hammer. He was pumped! We are anxious to see what insects we collect and are looking forward to being a part of this project. Today’s temperature is 19 degrees, but it feels like 25. The skies are overcast and there was a lot of rain last night. #hammer #buglife
This is truly one of the most exciting and busy times of year for staff from all departments at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario! Preparing for the School Malaise Trap Program requires extensive planning, coordination, organization, and a LOT of tape (with a little luck thrown in along the way).
And here we are! The program packages have been sent out, and shortly, students from 61 schools across Canada will be monitoring a Malaise Trap in their schoolyard for a 2 week period from September 22nd – October 3rd, 2014, in order to assess their local insect biodiversity.
When we mentioned a lot of tape, we meant it! Check out the picture below of our School Malaise Trap Program packages right before they were about to be shipped – 61 packages in total!
So let us tell you a little bit about how we got to this stage and what can be found in each of these boxes. Each package is 30″ x 14″ x 7″ and weighs approximately 14 lbs. Individual packages will contain a Malaise Trap, which is about the size of a small tent (6 feet tall and 6 feet long), a program information folder for instructors, and a “research in progress” sign which is to be placed on the Malaise Trap once it is assembled. We also include swag, such as buttons and bookmarks, for all of the students involved in the program. Currently, we have 2,526 students enrolled in the Fall 2014 version of the program from 94 classrooms. Literally, this means that staff at BIO must count out the appropriate number of bookmarks, buttons, pens etc… for each student in each of the participating classes! As you can imagine, this process can be quite time consuming so we do our best to start preparing for each program as soon as possible!
As we look forward to the Fall 2014 School Malaise Trap Program, we find ourselves reflecting upon how it all began. The SMTP website was in its infancy, and certainly didn’t include any sort of blog, but our friends at the BIObus were excited to share some thoughts about the birth of this program.
Here’s the first blog post related to the School Malaise Trap Program, copied from the BIObus site:
60 schools, 2000 students,
2 weeks, 12000 DNA barcodes.
Starting tomorrow — Feb. 26, 2013 — the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) will team up with grade 6 and grade 12 students from 60 schools to explore the insect diversity in their schoolyards through DNA barcoding, a genetic technique for identifying organisms. Using a Malaise trap — a small tent-like apparatus for collecting insects — each school will collect hundreds of insect specimens.
Each school will be visited by the BIObus, BIO’s mobile field laboratory, to introduce students to the life of a biologist and DNA barcoding. A comprehensive lesson plan accompanies the project and addresses specific expectations in the grades 6 and 12 curricula.
Once each class has deployed their Malaise trap for two weeks in April 2013, the samples will be analyzed at BIO and each class will receive a report providing a summary of the insects collected at each school. It will highlight new discoveries, and make comparisons between schools and nearby National Parks.
Stay tuned for many more updates over the next several weeks. Check here on the BIObus blog, but also:
The School Malaise Trap website
The BIObus Facebook page
The BIObus twitter feed: @BIObus_Canada
The DNA Barcoding blog