A phylogenetic and phylogeographic study of predaceous diving beetles in the Nearctic with a focus on the tribe Agabini (Coleoptera, Dytiscidae, Colymbetinae).

Regions: North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: biology, historical data, biodiversity, aquatic environment, aquatic insects

Principal Investigator: Venables, Chandra (1)
Licence Number: 14903
Organization: Department of Biology, University of Calgary
Licensed Year(s): 2011
Issued: Apr 13, 2011
Project Team: Chandra Venables (Principle Investigator, University of Calgary), TBD (Field Assistant , University of Calgary), Jessica Reimer (Field Assistant , University of Calgary), TBD (Field Assistant, University of Calgary)

Objective(s): To establish evolutionary relationships of diving beetles in the Nearctic, in addition to identifying colonization routes for exemplars in the tribe Agabini.

Project Description: The objectives of this research project are to:
1) establish evolutionary relationships of diving beetles in the Nearctic, in addition to identifying colonization routes for exemplars in the tribe Agabini;
2) assess genetic diversity of target species and among-population genetic mixing, and compare these data to historical data (where possible) with an aim at assessing latitudinal and historical trends; and
3) identify areas that currently have high genetic and/or species diversity, which could become desirable targets for conservation/protection efforts.

Beetles are collected manually by wading along the edges of freshwater bodies sweeping through the water column using a D-ring net with 1 mm mesh. Vegetation and gravel/mud/ etc. are perturbed to “flush”, and subsequently catch diving beetles. If possible, minnow traps are set in streams to collect beetles. The goal is to collect 5-10 individuals/species/population sampled - a maximum of 1000 beetles, but more likely around 300-500. To provide the best chance of preserving genetic material, samples are collected directly into 95% ethanol, which is changed at the end of the collecting day, and again back in the lab.

The researcher will be communicating results/methodology at the Tundra Science Camp as well as donating some of the collection to the Prince of Wales Natural History Centre in Yellowknife, for the study and use of future generations of northern researchers.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 1, 2011 to August 1, 2011.