50 regional and remote schools embark on a mission to discover new insect species

Fifty regional and remote schools from South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia have been selected to take part in a new citizen science project, Insect Investigators, led by the South Australian Museum and supported by the University of Adelaide .

The project, launched in September 2021, will connect students from regional and remote schools with researchers to document their local insect biodiversity and discover new insects in their area.

Participating schools are required to set up a Malaise Trap, a tent-like structure that catches flying insects, and monitor their finds for a period of four weeks beginning March 1, 2022.

Specimens will be sorted, DNA barcoded and sent to expert scientists who will identify and research the insects to build knowledge of Australia’s insect species.

Dr Erinn Fagan-Jeffries, project leader, honorary researcher at the South Australian Museum and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Adelaide, said she had been overwhelmed by the level of interest from schools wanting to take part in the year inaugural of insect researchers.

“We are so excited by the demand for this project, with nearly 200 schools applying for all 50 places,” she said.

“It’s great to see that successful schools are well dispersed across all three states, including Mornington Island in Queensland, the central desert region of South Australia and the Kimberly region of Western Australia. “

Over the next few weeks, members of the Insect Investigator team will be leading workshops with school students to inspire them to become junior entomologists for the year and help them prepare to set up their insect trap at the start. of the month of March.

“We look forward to working with the students to study their school’s insects and maybe even find new species. Dr Fagan-Jeffries, University of Adelaide.

“Even if your school doesn’t get a Malaise trap this time around, there are still plenty of ways to document insects in your area,” she added.

“Teachers can help students find insects and upload pictures of them to iNaturalistan online citizen science portal with an engaged community of people who will help identify insects in images,” she said.

Updates and results from the Malaise traps will be posted regularly on the Insect Investigators website. A wide range of Resources are also available on the website to help teachers integrate insect biodiversity into the classroom.

Insect Investigators received an Australian government grant, led by the South Australian Museum and involves 17 partner organisations.

About the Museum of South Australia

The Museum is home to a wealth of treasures of national and international significance – it is admired for its world-class collections, which have been amassed over more than 150 years and encompass everything from fossils of the earliest known life on Earth to pieces of meteorites martians. The Museum’s collections are constantly growing and are used every day in scientific and cultural research.

See the list of participating schools below. A press kit with images is also available.

South Australia:

  • Ceduna Area School
  • Crystal Brook Elementary School
  • Elliston Area School
  • Meet Lutheran College Victor Harbor
  • Faith Lutheran College Tanunda
  • Kangaroo Island Community Education
  • Kingston Community School
  • Koonibba Native School
  • North Loxton School
  • Mimili Anangu School
  • Rendelsham Primary
  • Roxby Downs Area School
  • Sandy Creek Primary
  • Streaky Bay Area School
  • Trinity Gawler College
  • Wallaroo Mines Elementary School
  • Yalata Anangu School

Western Australia:

  • Allanson Elementary School
  • Babakin Elementary School
  • Boddington District Secondary School
  • Derby District High School
  • Denmark Primary School
  • East Kimberly College and Kununurra School
  • Esperance Primary School
  • Kalgoorlie Primary School
  • Kalumburu Remote Community School
  • North Tom Price Elementary School
  • Peg’s Creek School
  • Pinrup Primary School
  • Shark Bay School
  • South Newman Elementary School
  • Southern Hills Christian College
  • Spirit of Play Community School

Queensland:

  • Back Plains State School
  • Beerwah State High School
  • National School of Belgian Gardens
  • Blackall State School
  • Cameron Downs State School
  • Columba Catholic College
  • Gin Gin State High School
  • Glenden State School
  • Kogan State School
  • Mornington Island State School
  • Mount Molloy State School
  • Prospect Creek State School
  • Springsure State School
  • St Patrick’s Catholic School, Winton
  • Tamborine Mountain State School
  • Yeppoon State High School
  • Yeronga State School