Meet the Team: Jana Aker

This post is the first in a series of “Meet the Team” profiles.  Each week we will introduce a new member of the NBP team; members will describe their background, role in the NBP and thoughts about the upcoming field season in their own words.  We hope you enjoy getting to know us!

This week’s team member is Jana Aker, a M.Sc. student at the University of Prince Edward Island.

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I am from Sydney, Nova Scotia and I obtained a B.Sc. in Biology at Cape Breton University, where I took a variety of ecology related courses including entomology courses. My interest in insects started with a summer job that I held after my first year of university. I worked for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in the plant protection program which involved trapping and collecting insects in order to monitor the spread of invasive pests. I collected many different species and was fascinated by the variation and wanted to know more, so I enrolled in my first entomology course. Insects continue to catch my attention and I am really looking forward to the experience in the north to see what species are there.

The groups of insects that I will be looking at for the Northern Biodiversity Program (NBP) are the EPT’s, or in other words, Ephemeroptera (mayflies), Plecoptera (stoneflies) and Trichoptera (caddisflies). I will be collecting the aquatic nymphs and the terrestrial adults of these groups, identifying them and comparing the species that I find to the species that were collected during the Northern Insect Survey in the 1950’s and 60’s. When I tell people that I am going to be spending my summer in the Arctic they cannot understand why I would possibly want to spend the summer somewhere cold, but I am really looking forward to the experience. I get to spend 7 weeks of my summer with a team of very goal oriented and enthusiastic people in places that not many people get to see.  It is going to be a really great summer.

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