Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Update from the Ischnura field season

The damselflies are certainly happy this summer.  Anna Norden (see pic at right) and I have found ourselves with plenty of specimens from our surrounding Skåne populations, especially with the recent sunshine.  The Swedish sun has even managed to give us slight sunburns today.

The new IR camera is up and running in the lab.  We are taking pictures of both Ischnura elegans and Colopteryx sp. under cold and hot treatments.  We are refining the experimental setup and hope to keep adding more dimensions to the study.  IR imaging is quick and easy and seems to have endless potential.

Along with IR we are continuing wing analyses, behavioral and fitness studies, and population surveys of I. elegans.  If conditions stay hot and sunny we hope to continue wandering Skåne catching damselflies well into August.

This season we have begun collaborating with the Lund Vision Group who are keen on deciphering the Ischnura vision system.  Almut Kelber and Miriam Henze are using the polymorphic damselfly system to investigate how male vision relates to the spectral variation of the female color 
morphs.  Pairing vision with signal, they are investigating both sides of the interaction by measuring male spectral sensitivity and visual acuity (see pic at left), while quantifying the reflectance and structure of female color.  We look forward to their results from this first season!

We are also keen on getting volunteers out in the field with us.  We have had a few super enthusiastic students come out and to learn about the damselfly system and we look forward to having more. 

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