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Free State Brewing Company, 633 Massachusetts St. What can trilobites tell us about extinction? Bruce Lieberman, curator of invertebrate paleontology, will introduce these more than 250-million-year-old, hard-shelled creatures that once dominated Earth's ancient seas. Discussion will branch from there to how major astronomical events might have played a part in the extinction of trilobites, and what that tells us about other mass extinctions. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Entomology provides access to its collections for researchers and student researchers in entomology and other fields. Researchers can browse the data-based portions of the collection electronically [link to search page] and visit in person. Entomology also participates in loan programs and exchanges with qualifying institutions, as well as fulfilling reasonable requests for specimen identifications as a public service. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The last week has been a bit hairier than normal. Joined by another Colombian water beetle student, we flew down to Puerto Ayacucho in southern Venezuela to scope out some new sites. No need for details at this point but things did not go quite as planned. The fact that an American and a Colombian were traveling together along the boarder with Colombia the day after Venezuela shut down all relations with Colombia because of perceived US military aggression (likely) played a role, if you are curious.
From San Cristobal: The last week has been a whirlwind of different habitat types (as normal). We zipped across from Maracaibo to Coro in Falcon state where we stayed for a few days to work the region. This part of Venezuela is mostly dry semi-desert. Lots of cactus. Among the more striking feature is a dune region which is large enough to make you think you were in lost somewhere in the Sahara. Of course, there are oases of sorts that were full of beetles.
The Gyrinidae are a family of charismatic aquatic Coleoptera commonly known as whirligig beetles, for their gyrating swimming style. Gyrinids are peculiar for having completely divided eyes giving them the appearance of having four eyes: two that peer above the water and two that peer below the water. They swim about on the surface tension of the water kicking with two pairs of paddle-like legs.
We arrived safely in Maracaibo yesterday. Today is for errands and setting up other logistical details for the trip. Stay tuned for an actual update...
After our rain day on Tuesday, we finished off the last two days of the main expedition by driving a circuit from Biscucuy to Trujillo, and then winded out of the Andes in the state of Lara and back to Maracaibo yesterday evening. The rain was a bit more widespread than I had hoped, and the condition of many of the rivers was less than exceptional for collecting—recent rain also can throw off our water chemistry readings. Nevertheless, we still made good progress and had a few surprises.