PICTURED ABOVE: - L: Scaphidium alpicola STAPHYLINIDAE ;  Cntre: Diaea sp. THOMISIDAE; R:  Elytra (wing cover) of Diphucephala colaspidoides SCARABAEIDAE        

                 PLEASE FEEL FREE TO BROWSE EVEN THOUGH THIS SITE IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION AND INFORMATION IS STILL BEING COMPILED 

[ALOLOGIES FOR THE MESSY FORMAT OF THESE PAGES.  I NEED TO REBUILD THE SITE TO ACCOMMODATE THE

                           UPGRADE OF GOOGLE SITES WHICH OCCURRED AFTER I BUILT THIS ONE IN 2008]                

Lynne Forster




I am interested in the ecology of invertebrates and factors that affect their distribution such as forest type and climate. This understanding helps us predict  consequences of changes in land use, climate change etc using invertebrates as indicators of change. 

This site is work in progress for interested people who want to identify Tasmanian beetles and spiders and discover more about their ecological relationships. It includes other minibeasts because  beetles and spiders can't really be separated  from their ecological web and, basically, I can't resist them! Fungi is included because there are strong connections between fungi and a number of beetles that live in them.

A strong motivation for creating this web site is to provide information that will help people identify beetles with greater precision. Correct identification is not only important if research is to be published, but is also essential if global projects such as GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility) are to achieve their goal of making world biodiversity data freely available. Data about location, ecology and biology of each species is only useful if we are applying it to the same organism.

 

Currently working on:

-analysing data for beetles from an altitudinal transect (as a surrogate for climate change) to look at effects on biodiversity and phylogenetic signal in traits, co-occurrence and ecological similarity of species.

-the differences in communities of foliage and under-bark invertebrates associated with the varying genetics of different races of Eucalyptus globulus in Tasmania.

-the distribution of Tasmanian beetle and spider species and their microhabitat preferences.

-molecular work using microsatellite markers to look at landscape level population genetics of saproxylic (log dependent) beetles.

-molecular work using mitochondrial DNA to look at phylogenetic relationships  between saproxylic beetle species.

-differences in phylogeny, traits, function etc of assemblages of beetles following different types of disturbances from fire to land clearing and climate change. 

-while many Tasmanian studies have focused on litter dwelling ground invertebrates I am interested in increasing knowledge about our flighted species using TWITS which I designed to enable an added bonus of being able to extract DNA and further increase our knowledge about our beetles. This allows long-term adaptation and potential resilience to change to be examined, compared with snapshots of species in a beetle community. (TWITS, by the way, are Triangular Window Intercept Traps and my document about making and setting them up is available at  TWITS.)

-and in my spare time I am trying to photograph as many Tasmanian beetles as possible and make their images publicly available (see also the Tasmanian Forest Insect Collection).


 

GET INVOLVED IN CITIZEN SCIENCE PROJECTS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!

School of Ants 

Survey the ants around your home on the same day as everyone else across Australia. Next surveys in 2015 are 21 October and 18 November. Register by following this link.


QuestaGame

Download a free app suitable for all ages. Seems to currently  focus on bird sightings.



Based in South Australia this looks like a great way to involve kids in the outdoors through their Nature Passport.

What's in your backyard? 

 CITIZEN BACKYARD SCIENCE AND CLIMATE CHANGE PROJECT (follow link)

 Acknowledgements

Many thanks to the University of Tasmania for use of their microscope with camera attachment and to Forestry Tasmania for access to their Beetle collection. 

I am also grateful to the Royal Society of Tasmania for their extensive serial collection dating back to the 1800's. The collection, hosted by the University of Tasmania, provides access to original descriptions of beetles, thereby aiding improved identification of species. I urge anyone who has an old copy of journals, particularly 1944+ around the start of the war, to donate them to the collection (e.g. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of NSW, Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, Transactions of the Entomological Society of London 1914-1944).

I also appreciate work of the global community of entomologists who identify specimens during their visits to Tasmania or specimens that have been mailed to them. Their expertise has helped progress knowledge of the species that inhabit this island.

 

 Beetles May Save the World

 In a world where water is increasingly scarce, Stenocara gracilipes, a Tenebrionid beetle from Namibia, Africa, has inspired a possible solution by collecting droplets of water from the coastal fog that extends 50 km inland. 

Read more about the discovery of the dune beetle in 2001 here, physiological details here and here , the biomimicry it inspired here (2006) and for an illustration of the beetle, go here. A fleeting glimpse of the beetle can be viewed online here

I hope that for every km of application of the technology to , for

example fences trapping water from coastal fog, that a km is donated to the water-starved continent of Africa whose innovatively adapted beetle inspired this new technology.