Frost Museum: Digitizing parasitic arthropods

The Frost Entomological Museum holds one of the world's largest and most diverse collections of sucking lice (Anoplura), comprising >15,000 specimens and more than 300 species. These blood-feeding ectoparasites were collected from a diversity of mammals, including walruses, crabeater seals, aardvarks, elephants, rodents, humans, and other primates. The museum also has sizable collections of other parasitic arthropods, including chewing lice, mosquitoes, black flies, fleas, and ticks.

The Frost Museum is part of a multi-institutional, NSF-funded project to digitize parasitic arthropods, in order to understand current and historical population dynamics and the relationships between parasites and their hosts. There are multiple opportunities for students to participate in this process and to engage in independent research

Campus: 
University Park
Description of Responsibilities: 

Students will work with museum staff to digitize these specimens (transcribe collecting data, georeference localities) and catalog the collection (document species and host records). In the process, students will be trained in data management, specimen handling, collections care, georeferencing, and how to identify certain kinds of parasites. Students may also be involved in developing educational materials (fact sheets, SOPs).

Number of Opportunities: 
2
Minimum Qualifications: 
  • Experience with spreadsheets
  • Excellent attention to detail, in part to maintain accuracy of historical records
  • Extreme care in handling small, fragile objects
  • Ability and willingness to learn new software
  • Passion for biodiversity and museums
  • Curiosity about the natural world
  • Excellent communication skills
Posting Date: 
Monday, November 18, 2019 to Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Position Type: 
Volunteer, Work Study, Paid Employment, Academic Credit
Opportunity Timeframe: 
Fall, Spring, Summer
Application Procedure: 

Send resume and statement of interest (one page maximum) to Laura Porturas (ldp5188@psu.edu), collection manager at the Frost Entomological Museum

Requested Materials: 
  • resume
  • statement of interest (one page maximum)