Why do we look at bugs?
As part of an ongoing food web study at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in the Warren Lab, we collect all kinds of bugs from forested areas in Massachusetts during the summer months. We then sort them, count them, and weigh them to measure the amount of food that is available for animals that eat bugs. In our lab we focus on nesting birds, but other forest animals and plants rely on these bugs too.
While some people might find sorting bitty bugs boring, we find it fun! We get to see all kinds of unique colors and physical structures. The more we see, the more we question why there are so many different features.
Our goal for this blog is to share some of the information that we learn -like what kinds of characteristics can be used to identify bugs and how do the bugs use those features as they go about life.
Why should you look at bugs?
Bugs are everywhere! We collect bugs from forests but there are bugs in your own backyard or local park, and perhaps even some bugs in your school, workplace, or home. Whether or not they directly affect your daily life, bugs indirectly affect our lives through their interactions with soil, plants, and other animals. They are incredibly important – and cool!