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Roger J. Blahnik


B.S. University of Minnesota Zoology 1972

B.S. University of Minnesota Genetics and Cell Biology 1984

M.S. University of Minnesota Entomology 1991

Ph.D. University of Minnesota Entomology (Genetics minor)1996

Different people have very different ideas about what entails fun.  My idea of fun is to stand by a light suspended in front of a bedsheet, preferably by a streamside in some remote tropical region, and then to be covered with insects as they fly in to the light. Even with bugs flying in my eyes and nose and ears, I love the anticipation of seeing an insect flying to the light that I have never seen before. This is part of what an insect survey project is, or at least one for caddisflies.

The other part of a survey project is to return to a lab and label, sort, and identify the insects. This involves a certain amount of tedium and what may amount to an unnatural compulsion for order. The fun part of this is looking at the insects under a stereomicroscope. For those who have only looked at insects with their naked eye, there can be only a dim perspective of the incredible morphological complexity one can observe under a microscope. The world through a microscope is an incredible one that many people never travel in, and yet it is one that I would sorely miss if I could not return to it. Another part of the fun of an insect survey is the sense of discovery, of recognizing that you are looking at something no one else has ever looked at, of finding a species no one has ever seen before. As incredible as it may seem, most of the species of caddisflies from southeastern Brazil that we have been sorting are completely new to science and undescribed. This is despite the fact that this is the most densely populated part of Brazil and the one with the best museums and scientific infrastructure.  A goal of this research project is to describe this diversity of caddisflies and to make information about this fauna available to researchers in Brazil. A practical benefit is that information about this fauna will make it easier to monitor and assess water quality in the numerous rivers and streams of this densely populated region.




Higher Level Phylogeny of the Trichoptera
Systematics and biogeography of the genus Chimarra
Systematics of the family Philopotamidae
The Oecetis avara species complex
Trichoptera of Venezuela

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