Entomology Methods: hand collecting

7 February 2014 by Christopher Buddle, posted in Miscellaneous

Here's something fun for a Friday...

When I started graduate school (almost 20 years ago - yikes!), I took a 'research proposal writing' class with Prof. Bill Samuel at the University of Alberta. One section of my proposal (which was about spiders in the boreal forest) said something like "I will collect spiders in clear-cut and forested stands. In addition to pitfall traps I will do hand collecting". He was quite critical of that last part, and complained that Entomologists are always talking about hand collecting.  Hand collecting is not an entomological method. Instead, it looks something like this:

Hand collecting (by Ainsley Seago, reproduced here with permission)

Hand collecting (by Ainsley Seago, reproduced here with permission)

In addition to his terrific sense of humour, Bill Samuel was a wonderful instructor and taught me many things about being a scientist, including the importance of being clear with words.

I couldn't find the original 'hand-collecing' cartoon that Bill forwarded to me, but I have always remembered it. Finally, and thanks to Ainsley, we now have very fine example of this important method!

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