Insects are incredibly diverse and play an important role in biodiversity. There are more than 159,000 species of true flies (Diptera, mosquitoes, gnats, horse flies, house flies, fruit flies, etc.) known to the scientific community today. Fly species play an important role in their natural environments and are a driving force of biodiversity wherever they occur. Many species are important to humans as plant pests, vectors of disease, or pollinators. The Diptera collection here at the NMNH is one of the largest and best-curated collections in the world and many scientifically undiscovered species are sure to be found within the cabinets and drawers.
This internship aims to assist the staff of the Diptera unit to improve the curation of the collection. Projects can include sorting primarily pinned specimens to family, assisting in the digitization of specimens (entering specimen-level data into Excel templates or photographing specimens), or organizing and labeling the storage trays and drawers that hold the specimens. Specimens curated during this internship will be made available to scientists who study fly biodiversity, taxonomy, and their evolutionary relationships. Digital data will be integrated into the museum-wide database system and become available to both the scientific community and the public at large on the NMNH’s public data portal (https://collections.nmnh.si.edu/search/ento/) and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (https://www.gbif.org).
Applications, in the form of a résumé and a few paragraphs on motivation for this internship opportunity, can be sent to Smithsonian curator of flies Dr Torsten Dikow (DikowT@si.edu) and are accepted year-round. A minimum two-month commitment is required. Hours are flexible. Background in the biological sciences and familiarity with the use of a stereo microscope is preferred. Knowledge of entomology, taxonomy, how to use an identification key, or handling of small specimens is desirable. Good organizational skills and attention to detail are required.
For questions regarding this opportunity, please contact: Torsten Dikow