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Meeting November 18th: iNaturalist & Entomology: surveying Sleeping Giant State Park

Hi everyone! Please join us on Friday, November 18th for our November meeting. The meeting will be held via Zoom as the others have this semester. The meeting will be on Friday, November 18th at 7:30pm, and will be held on Zoom. Please email for the Zoom information. The pre-meeting social opens at 6:30, with the business meeting at 7:30 and the talk afterward. There will be a Q&A and after meeting hangout until 9:00 or so.

October's speaker will be CES President Ray Simpson, giving a talk titled: iNaturalist & Entomology: surveying Sleeping Giant State Park.

Abstract: In the last decade the citizen science app iNaturalist has gained popularity exponentially. For entomologists, doing surveys means extensive general collecting, trapping, and specimen vouchering over the whole season to do proper biodiversity surveys. The charismatic Bio-Blitzes only tend to sample a tiny window of time. This however, limited data gathering to a select few that had the time, education, and equipment to do this work. For our Sleeping Giant project, our aim was to create a repository for biodiversity records for the park that allows anyone to participate from one observation to thousands. The project encompasses all records of lifeforms from the park boundaries that are submitted by iNat users. As a major part of this work, we conducted regular nighttime surveys of the park using UV/MV light setups frequently from April-November starting in 2019 and ongoing to this day. Using photography and collection we documented everything we could find, with an emphasis on insects. The results to date include over 2000 insect species, of which a large number are poorly known both online and in local collections. There are numerous specimen records that indicate possible range expansions, or even state records. For many taxonomic groups, there is an almost total lack of recent study in both taxonomy or distribution. The presentation will focus on the amazing and overlooked insect diversity present in a suburban state park only a few miles from downtown New Haven, and stresses the importance of "islands for nature" in urban areas. Citizen science provides a unique opportunity for outreach and increased accessibility of science, and is a largely untapped gold mine for biological data.

Bio: Raymond Simpson is the President of the Connecticut Entomological Society. He has a background in marine science, evolutionary biology, and entomology. He currently works at the Yale Library but worked at the Yale Peabody Museum for over 4 years. Ray has an inordinate fondness for Catocala moths.


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