Term needed: Summer 2018
Faculty mentor name: David Wooster
BES Facility: HAREC
Location (town) of internship: Hermiston
Hourly Salary: $13 Expected hours/week: 40
Student may be asked to work on weekends or outside of 8-5. Students may work more than 8 hours a day when doing fieldwork (but not more than 40 hours per week), or may start earlier than 8 AM or end later than 5 PM.
Are Housing Benefits included in addition to hourly salary? no
Student will be operating vehicles or farm equipment/machinery. Student will need to submit a driving background.
Agricultural pests incur tremendous costs to the production of crops. Integrated pest management is a common strategy used to control pests. However, results of this strategy are often mixed, with both successes and failures occurring. One important part of this strategy is identifying important predatory invertebrates of crop pests and developing management strategies to encourage healthy populations of these species in crop fields and field margins. Once important predators are identified, farmers can develop practices to encourage their abundance in and near crop fields.
This innovative project combines cutting-edge molecular techniques with laboratory and field work to understand how important two common, naturally occurring invertebrate predators are for controlling potato pests. The project will use molecular diet analysis to identify the DNA of prey in wolf spiders and ground beetles collected in margins of potato fields in eastern Oregon. The intern will be involved in field sampling of spiders and beetles, and laboratory experiments designed to see how quickly prey pass through the digestive tract of the predators. The intern will help prepare samples for DNA extraction and amplification in preparation for sequencing.
The objectives of the project are to:
1. Use DNA metabarcoding to document the diet of wolf spiders and ground beetles collected in margins of potato fields;
2. Quantify the availability of potential prey in potato field margins using pitfall traps and sweep nets;
3. Examine the gut passage time of prey items in wolf spiders and ground beetles.
The internship will involve both field and laboratory work. Field work may last all day and involve physical activities such as extensive walking to and among field sites while carrying up to 25 pounds of equipment, collecting insects using nets and other trapping techniques. It is anticipated that approximately 50% of the intern’s time will be spent in the field and the remaining time in the laboratory. The intern can expect to learn or further develop existing skills in insect sampling methods, laboratory techniques, data entry and analysis, and presentation skills in the development of their final project. Although helpful, no previous experience with insects or plants is necessary. The intern must have a driver’s license.