Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh

A 1-year NSF Funded Postdoctoral Fellow position is available immediately in the Section of Invertebrate Zoology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, PA. Specific details of the position, and instructions on how to apply, are listed in the announcement below. The initial review of applications is scheduled to begin on June 25th, but will be continued to accept applications until the position is filled.

Read more

Opinion: Cynicism in academia

This post on cynicism in academia is off-topic compared to what I usually write about on taxonbytes. And I wish to declare that it is not intended to project a high degree of scholarship on the subject because I lack such scholarship. An internet search of “cynicism academia” (or similar) produces abundant links to both casual and formal treatments. I will not deal with these, but only relate my own current thoughts.

Read more

Software Carpentry Workshop report

During the weekend of Feb 21 & 22, Joe Hunter, an undergraduate research student, and I attended a Software Carpentry workshop at University of Arizona hosted by the iPlant Collaborative. The workshop was intended to teach scientists to analyze and manage data (beyond just using Excel and storing data in a laptop). Read more

Biodiversity Data and IUCN – Notes for ASU-CBO Meeting

Yesterday the ASU Natural History Collections, Informatics & Outreach Group was represented at the “IUCN – CBO Partnership Workshop”, held on February 25-26, 2014, Arizona State University, Tempe. The workshop was sponsored by the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes. Below is a collection of broad themes, keywords, and links that are relevant to the workshop.

1. ASU Natural History Collections –

2. Searching SEINet

  • Go to
  • Search Collections = ASU.
  • Taxa: Physalis crassifolia, Physalis hederifolia.
  • Region: Arizona.
  • Observe abundantly vouchered, largely disjunct taxon distributions.

3. Via Dr. Les Landrum

  • Here is a demo that shows what one can do with georeferenced specimens. Go to
  • We have a fairly rare species of plant – Fremontodendron californicum. Map that species and then use the Biotic communities map (one of 3 options) to see where it grows.
  • Infer community identity, occurrence correlations “from the bottom up”.
  • Can create analytical models with different kinds of question- and data-driven themes on top of this evidential biodiversity information layer.

4. Via Ed Gilbert

5. Arthropod collections and “research readiness”Cobb, Seltmann & Franz. 2014.

Accessioning a Donation: Part 2

Continuing from Part 1, this post documents the ongoing process of accessioning a large donation corresponding to the Ira Nadborne insect collection. Having frozen all donated material for an entire week, we can now safely sort through the specimens and curate them into our main collection. The first part of this journey is to determine which specimens we are keeping, and to move them out of their dermestid frass-filled boxes.


Read more

ASU Collections Holiday Party 2014

Last Wednesday (December 17, 2014) we celebrated our first Holiday Party at the Alameda collections space. Plenty of people, food, drinks, and cheerful times. Liz Makings skillfully accompanied the Christmas carols on the keyboard. Photos are posted here.


Tom Dowling, Scott McAdams, Rebecca Dornburg, Charlotte Johnston.

And, with permission (“Sure – this could be my big break.”), we reproduce here Walter Fertig’s genial adaptation of:

On the First day of Christmas, the herbarium gave to me, a Perdix in a Pyrus tree*

On the Second day of Christmas, the herbarium gave to me
two Croton setigerus and a Perdix in a Pyrus tree

Read more

Graduate research opportunity – insect diversity in Mormon cricket ecosystems

Graduate Student Opportunity – M.Sc. in Biology

Franz Lab and Hasbrouck Insect Collection, School of Life Science, Arizona State University

Our lab ( has an opening for a funded M.Sc. research project involving biodiversity surveys and information products related to rangeland grasshoppers and Mormon cricket pests and associated non-target organisms from the grasshopper and Mormon cricket ecosystem. The project will be co-advised by research entomologists of the USDA Center for Plant Health Science and Technology in Phoenix, Arizona, under the leadership of Dr. Larry Jech. A central research objective is to characterize the effects of a new insecticide, chlorantraniliprole, on diverse non-target arthropods in rangeland ecosystems in 17 western states, with emphasis on orthopteran groups.

The selected candidate will be broadly trained in insect biodiversity science, informatics, and applied entomology. Interested candidates are strongly encouraged to contact Dr. Nico Franz (e-mail: to learn more about this opportunity. Applications to the M.Sc. in Biology program should be submitted on-line at: biology-masters-and-phd- programs.

The application submission deadline is December 15, 2014.

Course announcement: Sonoran Desert Field Botany, Spring 2015

PLB498-598-2015An announcement for the combined PLB 498/598 Sonoran Desert Field Botany course, offered in the Spring 2015 Semester by Elizabeth Makings (Vascular Plant Herbarium) at the Alameda space.

Download the course flyer with additional information.