Live at Lunch: Back to the Beach

Find out what’s happening at the museum and archives in these monthly talks featuring curators, staff and researchers. First Wednesday of each month. Admission by donation.

Back to the Beach: Insects on the Shores of Vancouver Island
Dr. Joel Gibson, curator of entomology

British Columbia has over 25,000km of coastline from Vancouver Island to Haida Gwaii. This is more than the United Kingdom or India. The coastline includes thousands of islands, rocky shores, sandy beaches, coastal dunes, and tide pools. While BC’s coastline has always been a part of the culture of the people in this region, its unique biodiversity is only starting to be fully documented. Shoreline-adapted species of insects have been the focus of limited previous study, especially on the Pacific coast. New research initiatives at the Royal BC Museum are looking into historical and newly-collected records of unique shoreline insects and spiders. Important historical collecting events include remote locales like Zayas Island and Brooks Peninsula. Highly specialized groups like barnacle flies (Dryomyzidae: Oedoparena), seaweed flies (Coelopidae), and shoreline rove beetles (Staphylinidae) could demonstrate unique patterns of biogeography and evolution once their systematics and distribution is better understood. The ecology of shoreline specialists like Fucellia (Anthomyiidae) and Telmetageton (Chironomidae) also need better study on the Pacific coast of Canada. A number of discoveries have been made so far, but much more remains to be done.

 

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