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Published: February 8, 2016

Of Ivory Gulls and Parasites

Joshua Engel, Research Assistant II, Integrative Research Center
Ivory Gull by Nathan Goldberg

Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) photo by Nathan Goldberg.

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Published: October 26, 2012

The Man Who Mistook His Tarantula for a Hat

Katherine Webbink, Information Systems Specialist, Information Technology

Collections Assistant Jim Louderman wears many hats (some of which are tarantulas). In addition to preparing specimens for the Field Museum's Insect Collection, he collects insects and arachnids around Illinois and the central U.S., and participates in numerous public outreach programs.

Collections Assistant Jim Louderman wears many hats (some of which are tarantulas). In addition to preparing specimens for the Field Museum's Insect Collection, he collects insects and arachnids around Illinois and the central U.S., and participates in numerous public outreach programs.


Katherine Webbink

In the Technology Department, Kate works on cataloging the Field Museum's digital media--how do we preserve the digital media bits of natural history? For now, the answer here seems to involve a lot of DNGs. Going forward, digital formats and the workflows that go with them change all the time, so collections need to stay on their toes if they don't want to lose data and the ideas that go with them.

Published: July 27, 2012

A Century of Butterflies and Moths

Katherine Webbink, Information Systems Specialist, Information Technology

Collection Manager Jim Boone takes us on a tour through the Herman Strecker Moth and Butterfly Collection. The history of the collection and some its most interesting specimens are explored.

Collection Manager Jim Boone takes us on a tour through the Herman Strecker Moth and Butterfly Collection. The history of the collection and some its most interesting specimens are explored.


Katherine Webbink

In the Technology Department, Kate works on cataloging the Field Museum's digital media--how do we preserve the digital media bits of natural history? For now, the answer here seems to involve a lot of DNGs. Going forward, digital formats and the workflows that go with them change all the time, so collections need to stay on their toes if they don't want to lose data and the ideas that go with them.

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Published: July 6, 2012

Variety is the Spice of Lice

Katherine Webbink, Information Systems Specialist, Information Technology

What's there to love about lice? In the course of studying evolution, Field Museum biologist Dr. Jason Weckstein has become fascinated by the diversity of these little insects, and what that diversity means for understanding the "coevolution" of parasites and their hosts.

What's there to love about lice? In the course of studying evolution, Field Museum biologist Dr. Jason Weckstein has become fascinated by the diversity of these little insects, and what that diversity means for understanding the "coevolution" of parasites and their hosts.


Katherine Webbink

In the Technology Department, Kate works on cataloging the Field Museum's digital media--how do we preserve the digital media bits of natural history? For now, the answer here seems to involve a lot of DNGs. Going forward, digital formats and the workflows that go with them change all the time, so collections need to stay on their toes if they don't want to lose data and the ideas that go with them.

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Published: October 7, 2011

A beautiful Fall Friday night at the museum

John Bates, Assoc. Curator and Section Head, Integrative Research Center

Friday evening at the museum there is a Happy Hour for any staff and others working in the museum. It takes place in the Zoology Classroom, and it is a great way to end the week and get to know more about what is happening at the museum. The conversations always are different depending on who comes and who you have time to talk to. People come from all parts of the museum such as Institutional Advancement, Exhibits, Information Technology, Environmental and Conservation Programs, and the four research departments.

Friday evening at the museum there is a Happy Hour for any staff and others working in the museum. It takes place in the Zoology Classroom, and it is a great way to end the week and get to know more about what is happening at the museum. The conversations always are different depending on who comes and who you have time to talk to. People come from all parts of the museum such as Institutional Advancement, Exhibits, Information Technology, Environmental and Conservation Programs, and the four research departments.

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Published: September 23, 2011

Understanding Turtle Ants

Corrie Moreau is an Assistant Curator of Insects at the Field Museum and part of her research focuses on understanding the life history of turtle ants (Cephalotes varians). This species of ants is remarkable because of their dish-like heads that act as living doorways. In other words, large workers of turtle ants can use their heads to block the entrance of their nests and thus preventing intruders from coming in.

Corrie Moreau is an Assistant Curator of Insects at the Field Museum and part of her research focuses on understanding the life history of turtle ants (Cephalotes varians). This species of ants is remarkable because of their dish-like heads that act as living doorways. In other words, large workers of turtle ants can use their heads to block the entrance of their nests and thus preventing intruders from coming in.

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Published: August 7, 2011

Fossil beetle video

Margaret Thayer, Curator Emeritus, Integrative Research Center

From mid-June to mid-July, Chenyang Cai, a master's student at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, visited the Division of Insects at the Field Museum.  He brought with him a large number of spectacular fossil beetles belonging to the families Silphidae (carrion beetles) and Staphylinidae (rove beetles).  Most of the specimens he brought came from the mid-Jurassic Daehugou Biota (165 million years old), plus a few from the Cretaceous Jehol Biota (125 million years old), both occurring in northeastern China. He spent the month working with me and Curator Emeritus Al Newton studying the fossils and the Field Museum's huge collections of extant (modern) beetles of both families.  

From mid-June to mid-July, Chenyang Cai, a master's student at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, visited the Division of Insects at the Field Museum.  He brought with him a large number of spectacular fossil beetles belonging to the families Silphidae (carrion beetles) and Staphylinidae (rove beetles).  Most of the specimens he brought came from the mid-Jurassic Daehugou Biota (165 million years old), plus a few from the Cretaceous Jehol Biota (125 million years old), both occurring in northeastern China. He spent the month working with me and Curator Emeritus Al Newton studying the fossils and the Field Museum's huge collections of extant (modern) beetles of both families.  


Margaret Thayer

Thayer is a retired curator in the Division of Insects in the Field Museum's Integrative Research Center (Life Sciences), where she conducts specimen-based research on rove beetles (Staphylinidae) and continues to work in the collection of over 12 million specimens and lots of insects and other arthropods. 

Margaret is particularly interested in the evolution, biogeography, and biology of rove beetles of the Austral region: Australia, New Zealand, southern South America, and South Africa and has also worked extensively with the North American fauna. Her systematic research is based mainly on study of morphological features, but she collaborates with colleagues on research using molecular (DNA sequence) data to help understand the evolution of rove beetles and their relatives.  Field work is an essential part of her research program that she enjoys tremendously, and she has done field work in the United States and nine other countries.

Research Interests

  • Systematics, phylogeny, biology, and evolution of Staphylinidae of the world, especially Omaliinae and other relatively basal taxa
  • Long-term primary emphases on Omaliini of the world and various southern hemisphere temperate zone staphylinid groups
  • Fossil Staphylinidae and other Staphylinoidea (mainly Mesozoic)
  • Faunal surveys: southern hemisphere temperate Staphyliniformia
  • Historical biogeography, especially with regard to austral regions

For papers, see "Publications" below

Field Experience

Over three full years of total field experience in temperate and tropical regions, using a variety of collecting techniques (flight intercept, baited pitfall, and light traps; Berlese and other soil extraction methods; standard and non-standard hand-collecting techniques) in the following areas:

  • United States & Canada (ca. 69 weeks, 1974–present): New England, California, Pacific Northwest, Arizona, New Mexico, Smoky Mts., Ouachita Mts., Rocky Mts., Alaska, Hawaii, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Texas. Includes directing and carrying out long-term sampling in Chicago area, 1996–2000 and leading 5-week western US expedition in 2006.
  • Australia (36 weeks): 1980, 1986–87, 1993, 2004 [expedition leader], 2013)
  • New Zealand (22 weeks): 1980, 1984–85; 2005 (expedition leader)
  • Chile (17 weeks): 1982–83, 1996–97; 2002 (expedition leader)
  • South Africa (5 weeks): 2004 (expedition leader)
  • Laos (4 weeks): 2008
  • Mexico (4 weeks): 1999
  • Peru (2 weeks): 1983
  • Costa Rica (8 weeks): 1974 (field assistant)
  • Germany, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland (1-3 day excursions each, 2005–present)
  • Effectiveness of field work

Over 280 new species and at least two new genera of arthropods (in 2 classes, 7 orders, and 42 families) and 6 species of parasitic fungi have been described (published by over 80 authors) based on holotypes from material collected in nine countries in her field work listed above, most of it done jointly with A. F. Newton (plus far more species with just paratypes they collected).  Two-thirds of these taxa are known only from their collections.  Many more new species and genera, as well as previously unknown larvae of at least 100 genera of Staphyliniformia, have been recognized among this material and are being described or await description by them or other workers.  Their field work has also provided the first or only detailed locality, habitat, and/or ecological data for many already-described but poorly known taxa (e.g., Thayer 1985 [3 papers], 1987, 1997, 2003; Thayer et al. 2004; Newton et al. 2000; Navarrete-Heredia et al. 2002; Betz et al. 2003; Weide et al. 2010, 2014; countless papers by others); critical material for wide-ranging molecular and morphological studies (Lawrence et al. 2011; McKenna et al. 2015 [2 papers]) and has been critical to synthetic work as well (Newton 1984, 1985; Newton et al. 2000; Navarrete-Heredia et al. 2002; Thayer 2005, 2016).

Published: August 1, 2011

Fossil Carrion Feeders

The world's oldest carrion beetle fossils were found in China and represent species that were alive 165 million years ago. Follow Margaret Thayer and Chenyang Cai as they work together at the Field Museum in Chicago to yield new insights into this family of beetles, called Silphidae.

The world's oldest carrion beetle fossils were found in China and represent species that were alive 165 million years ago. Follow Margaret Thayer and Chenyang Cai as they work together at the Field Museum in Chicago to yield new insights into this family of beetles, called Silphidae.

Published: June 20, 2011

How do I get rid of the pest ants in my home?

Corrie Moreau, Associate Curator & Director of Integrative Research, Integrative Research Center

Although many ants are quite beautiful and really have no interest in entering our homes, there are a few species that we call "household pests".  Depending on where you live resources to identify the particular ant species you have invading your home may or may not be possible, but knowing which species you are after can help.  

Although many ants are quite beautiful and really have no interest in entering our homes, there are a few species that we call "household pests".  Depending on where you live resources to identify the particular ant species you have invading your home may or may not be possible, but knowing which species you are after can help.  


Corrie Moreau

Robert A. Pritzker Director of the Integrative Research Center and Associate Curator in the Integrative Research Center (Insects) in the Department of Science and Education at the Field Museum of Natural History.  Corrie's research program focuses on the evolutionary history and diversification of the ants (Formicidae), ant mutualisms with plants to bacteria, biogeography, and molecular and genomic tools to tease apart these patterns.  To learn more about Corrie Moreau's research and members of the lab, please visit the lab website: www.moreaulab.org

Corrie S. Moreau cmoreau@fieldmuseum.org
Robert A. Pritzker Director of the Integrative Research Center and Associate Curator
Field Museum of Natural History
1400 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605  USA

Website: www.moreaulab.org


 

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Published: June 18, 2011

White Pelicans outside my office window

John Bates, Assoc. Curator and Section Head, Integrative Research Center

The window my office looks south towards Soldier Field and I confess that when something is flying by, it often catches my eye no matter what is going on in the office.  Yesterday, around lunchtime, while Peggy MacNamara, Barbara Becker and I were meeting to discuss the order of Peggy’s paintings for her nearly finished Migration book, I turned my gaze out the window of my office to look across Soldier Field and spotted line of large birds flying towards the museum from out over stadium.

The window my office looks south towards Soldier Field and I confess that when something is flying by, it often catches my eye no matter what is going on in the office.  Yesterday, around lunchtime, while Peggy MacNamara, Barbara Becker and I were meeting to discuss the order of Peggy’s paintings for her nearly finished Migration book, I turned my gaze out the window of my office to look across Soldier Field and spotted line of large birds flying towards the museum from out over stadium.