One of the main goals of my sabbatical was to write, write, write. I needed to finish up a number of papers that had been on the back burner for way too long. I also wanted to start a couple larger projects. While I didn't get everything done that I wanted to, I was able to make strong progress on all my writing projects. I also managed to add another paper, coauthored with my host, Noah Whiteman, and his lab. This turned out to be a nice project that allowed us to summarize some of the microbial work that we have both been doing in our labs. This paper has just come out online in Frontiers in Microbiology's special Symbioses issue. Here's a link to the paper.
Kari's latest paper on Hawaiian Diptera is out! This one is a phylogeny of the endemic Hawaiian Campsicnemus (Diptera: Dolichopodidae), with some very interesting analyses on the biogeography and ecological adaptations in the group. Our coauthors were Neal Evenhuis at the Bishop Museum and Pavla Bartosova-Sojkova, a former visiting scholar in the lab. We have one more paper on Hawaiian dolis in the works and are excited to publish on this very cool radiation of about 350 endemic Hawaiian species.
I posted earlier this year about wanting to publish a series of small papers on the distribution and identification of several lineages of Hawaiian flies. I also wanted to use the series to publish some species names from the smaller groups or the clades where a full revision isn't tractable. The first paper was on the Asteiidae and it came out in February. The second in the series was on the genus Scatella (Ephydridae) and was published in August. My coauthors Neal Evenhuis and Keith Arakaki are both researchers at the BP Bishop Museum. We owe a huge thanks to Torsten Dikow for helping with the database of the Smithsonian Material. You can read the paper here.
My next paper will be on the endemic Hawaiian Canacidae and will include the description of a new species in the genus Procanace.
It's been a while since I've posted updates. My sabbatical has come and gone and much of what happened in the last half of it didn't get put up here. I'm going to try and catch up a bit - and do it in order - starting with this post. I made a number of collections around Memorial Day weekend. Chelsea and Paceyn were in Nebraska visiting family so I did a short road trip with my old friend Marty. The photo here is from an earlier trip but not much has changed. We had a great time and I also managed to get a large number of flies. Some Scaptomyza, but mostly ephydrids.
Natalie passed her oral exams today! From what I've heard, she did a wonderful job. Be sure to congratulate her next time you see her in the lab.
Chelsea, Paceyn and I did another short drive on March 2nd. We started in Sonoita, cut through the Patagonia Mountains to the border town of Lochiel, and made our way back to Sonoita via the Canelo Hills and Santa Cruz River Valley. It had rained the night before and we had a very nice drive in spite of some mud. I collected quite a few flies and I hear that the birding was also good....
Paceyn and I took a short hike in Florida Canyon this morning. The USFS trail guide said that this was a lightly used area but by the time we got to the trailhead, the parking lot was packed. There were license plates from 9 different states. We met lots of people on the trail and there was evidently some rare bird spotted in the area. So much for lightly used. We followed the main trail for about 1/2 mile then took a smaller one up the wash.
I had been here in 1995 or so and had collected a bunch of Scaptomyza. My goal for today was to see if they were still there and to try and collect some ephydrids as well. There was a surprising amount of water in the canyon and we ended up at a small dam that was packed with moss, algae and aquatic plants. The Scaptomyza were still there, as were some leaf mines. I got a good mixture of different flies including Scaptomyza, ephydrids, bibionids, tipulids and syrphids.
Paceyn was a great help. She loved scrambling around on rocks in the wash and collecting plants and rocks. We had a great picnic and made our way back to the car with plenty of time to explore the neighboring Madera Canyon. There weren't any opportunities of collect there but hopefully on a future trip I can find some good spots.
Chelsea, Paceyn and I did a short drive on Sunday out toward the town a Arivaca. Our first stop was the Longhorn Grill, just off I-19. Although this place is closed now, it still attracts a lot of attention and is good place to stretch your legs before heading west on the smaller roads. The road heads west from Arivaca Junction to the town of Arivaca. This is one of the oldest settlements in the area and has a great coffee place. The Buena Vista National Wildlife refuge is also just outside of town. From Arivaca, we took Ruby Road toward the ghost town of Ruby, AZ, the site of an extensive silver mine. We stopped for some collecting just past Ruby where California Gulch crossed the road. There was some water in the wash and I was able to collect ephydrids, dolichopodids, chironomids, chloropids and several other families of flies. It was a good trip and I hope that the ephydrids are useful in some of the biogeographic work I've started in the western US. Paceyn was a huge help spotting flies and "fishing" in the wash.
The lab has been collecting Hawaiian Diptera for over 15 years now and we have a large amount of unpublished data on species distributions, identification resources and new species of various fly groups. I decided to try a new journal as an outlet for these types of data. The Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ) is a peer-reviewed journal published by Pensoft. It offers a unique, online paper authoring and revision format that works very well with catalogs, species descriptions and identification keys. All distribution data is input in Darwin Core format and made available for download as CSV files. It is also ported to GBIF. BDJ is also a rapid outlet so papers can appear within a few weeks of initial submission.
My plan is to publish a series of papers on Hawaiiain Diptera. The first, a number of new island records for the endemic Hawaiian Asteia, was just published. Look for future papers on Limoniidae, Canacidae, Ephydridae and (of course) Drosophilidae.