Amphipods are important bioindicators that can be found in almost any body of water. The presence of amphipods can provide an abundance of information about the environment. However, amphipods are frequently misidentified, rendering most of the information gained from them unusable. This issue has highlighted a need for taxonomic training. The goals of this project include teaching students various methods used in amphipod taxonomy, such as collection, dissection, and identification of amphipods. Equally important is that students understand the role of amphipods in their environments. In addition to traditional morphological taxonomy techniques such as scientific illustration, students will learn to use a stacking imaging system to create more detailed photographs useful in identification. Proficiency in these types of skills benefits the fields of taxonomy, ecology, and conservation while providing a set of skills that students can use throughout their careers. Once trained, students will apply their skills to a project funded by the National Science Foundation which focuses on Caribbean amphipods of Panama. The project will ultimately result in a revisionary systematics monograph describing the regional amphipod diversity and identification tools for both experts and non-experts. The methods listed here will be described and potential applications of the project results by non-experts will be presented.


National Science Foundation Grant DEB-1856421

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