Project Description :
The diet breadth of the endangered Puritan tiger beetle in the Connecticut River is unknown, and this information is critical to restoration of its habitat, and conservation of this species.
This project will assess quantitative measures of diversity and density of potential tiger beetle prey throughout the Connecticut River using uniquely designed micro-pitfall traps. The student will refine sampling techniques, and develop methods for rapidly identifying arthropod prey recovered from traps. These methods will include standard alpha taxonomy, and potentially DNA-based identification using DNA barcoding. Lastly, the student will help improve current methods of diet composition assessment using stable isotope ratios of both tiger beetles and their prey. The student will work under the guidance of Dr. Joseph Elkinton, and in collaboration with the US Fish & wildlife service & various state agencies as part of an ongoing, and large-scale conservation effort for the endangered Puritan Tiger Beetle.