2016 International Congress of Entomology (ICE)

At the 2016 International Congress of Entomology (ICE), Shiala Morales, Erin Barbeau, Shawn Kelly, Ryan Ridenbaugh, and Brian Silverman put together a poster on the Bug Closet! Erin presented the poster at ICE and was pleased at the response. The poster can be now found at its permanent home just outside the Bug Closet! (9/30/2016)

The Bug Closet hosted international researchers as part of a special activity for International Congress of Entomology participants. Photo credit: Derek Woller (9/28/2016)

New Curator!

UCFC has a found curator! Dr. Barbara Sharanowski joined the UCF Department of Biology as the curator of UCFC and associate professor in January 2016. She has set up her lab and settled in. Her research focus is the evolutionary relationships of braconid wasps. We are very excited to have a hymenopterist as our curator since the UCFC is overwhelmingly composed of Hymenoptera specimens. We look forward to Dr. Sharanowski’s input and plans for the growth of the collection. To learn more about her research focus, please visit the people page.

UCFC is seeking a new curator!

UCFC’s current curator, Dr. Hojun Song, has taken a faculty position at Texas A&M University, leaving the position open. The Department of Biology at the University of Central Florida is very keen to continuing the operation and further development of UCFC and has decided to replace the position with another entomologist. Thus, we are seeking a highly qualified entomologist who can take the collection to the next level.

Here is the job announcement:

Entomology Position

The Department of Biology at the University of Central Florida (UCF) invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position at the rank of Assistant Professor. The candidate’s research will address important questions in entomology using innovative approaches. Individuals with curatorial experience and interests in collections-based research are preferred. Candidates must have a demonstrated ability or strong potential to establish and maintain a vigorous, extramurally-funded research program, facilitate collaborations, and complement departmental strengths. See http://sciences.ucf.edu/biology/ for department details.

Applicants must have a Ph.D. from an accredited institution in a relevant field and appropriate post-doctoral training. Successful candidates will contribute to teaching and mentoring students in our undergraduate and graduate programs and oversee and develop as Curator the endowed Stuart M. Fullerton Collection of Arthropods (https://sciences.ucf.edu/biology/bugcloset/), a regional insect collection with over 500,000 specimens and with a dedicated collection manager. UCF has a strong research emphasis and provides competitive startup funds and teaching loads.

UCF is designated as a research university of very high activity (RU/VH) by the Carnegie Foundation and an ‘Up-and-Coming School’ by U.S. News and World Report. This hire is part of multiple departmental hires and 200 new faculty positions university-wide in 2015-16, with more hires anticipated in coming years.

Applicants must complete a job application at https://www.jobswithucf.com/postings/39688 for position #36599.  Separately, applicants must e-mail a single PDF document that includes a letter of intent, curriculum vitae, statements of research interests and teaching philosophy, and contact information for three references to: bio-search@ucf.edu with the subject line: #36599

Review of applications will begin January 5, 2015, with an anticipated start date of August 2015.

The University of Central Florida is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply, including minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities. As a Florida public university, UCF makes all application materials and selection procedures available to the public upon request.

In remembrance of Stuart M. Fullerton (1940-2014)

fullerton1Our beloved founder, Stuart M. Fullerton, unexpectedly passed away on April 5, 2014 apparently due to a heart attack. He was 74 years old. Stuart was an inspiration to so many lives. His kindness, generosity, mentorship, friendship, and passion will be sorely missed. Many people have already shared their memories of Stuart and more stories are coming. We will eventually create a dedicated page in remembrance of Stuart featuring all these stories.

To remember and share our thoughts of Stuart with his dear friends, colleagues, and students, there will be a memorial gathering. The specific time and location are:

Thursday April 17, 2014 at 6:30pm
First United Methodist of Oviedo, Fellowship Hall
263 King Street, Oviedo, Florida 32765 (corner of King St. and Lake Jessup Ave.)

For the memorial, we will not accept flowers. Stuart probably wouldn’t want that. Instead, if you wish, you can make a donation to support the Bug Closet, which represents Stuart’s legacy. To do that, you can visit this link, which will take you to the donation page. Under Designation, select “Entomological Research” and fill the rest of the information. At the bottom of the page under Tribute Information, select “In memory of” then write Stuart Fullerton. The donation will be used to sustain the life of the Bug Closet.

New Family

We recently came across a specimen representing a new beetle family for the collection – Belidae!  It was collected in February of this year from a Malaise Trap in a Sawgrass/Red Maple wetland called the Mackay Tract, located across the street from campus.

Rhopalotria

R. slossoni_lateralThe family Belidae is represented in the United States by two species, both only occuring in Florida.  Rhopalotria mollis (Sharp) is adventive and feeds on non-native cycads.  The specimen we collected was Rhopalotria slossoni (Schaeffer), a native species that feeds on coontie, Zamia integrifolia Linn.  While both of these species feed on the cones of their host plants, they are also responsible for pollination.

This specimen represents a Northern range expansion of R. slossoni, previously found only in South Florida.  The increasing popularity of using coontie as an ornamental in Central Florida might explains this.  However, the other known pollinator of coontie, the languriid beetle Pharaxonotha floridana (Casey), has a distribution that ranges into Northern Florida, and is locally abundant here in Central Florida.  This begs the question, why has P. floridana been seemingly so much more successful than R. slossoni?