Brood XIII 2007 - Mapping Continues
News Category: Cicada Missions
Brood XIII 2007 - Mapping Continues
June 5, 2007 - More Distribution Mapping in the Springfield Area
Today started out like yesterday with me trying to find a point where there were positive records and working from there. I spent the whole day alone and just driving around noting positive and negative data points. I didn't do much in the way of taking pictures and movies. I basically did a series of driving for 4 minutes, stopping, take a positive or negative data point and just moved on.
I started in Athens, IL and ended up at Robert A. Stuart Park on Winch Road. The temperature started out in the low 70's but by the end of the day it was in the low 80's. I really concentrated on areas where there were a lot of negatives just so that I could see if I could determine where a leading edge of the brood was.
June 6, 2007 - A Day of Mapping With David Marshall
On June 6th, I spent a day in the Galesburg, IL area with David Marshall also of the University of Connecticut. Galesburg is north of Peoria, IL. where we have been camped. Like in Springfield, we mapped more data points. The area in and around Galesburg really doesn't leave that many wild places for Magicicada populations due to all the cultivated fields and built-up areas.
UCONN had this cool software program that they designed that works with a laptop. It taps into GPS satellites with the use of an external antenna. Where ever you go, it constantly stays in contact with global positioning satellites and takes latitude and longitude data points. When the user hits enter, it automatically dumps a particular data point into what is called a "CSV" file which is similar to Microsoft Excel Spread Sheet. Then this data can be converted into a text file and uploaded into another program to mark-out points on a map according to latitude and longitude. This is what they are using to draw new distribution maps of the broods. This is the new effective way to map the distribution of Cicada Broods.
A pretty cool program really despite its problems with crashing. But what the hey, it's BETA!!
Shut-up n' Drive!!
Just kidding! It wasn't like the heading above but it was my job to just drive the car around while David Marshall sat in the passenger seat and took the data points and navigated. During this day, I wasn't able to take any data points of my own unfortunately. It doesn't matter, I'm working on my own personal distribution map for this web site and I'm sure that the folks at UCONN won't mind sharing their data with me.
Plan of Action For Galesburg, IL
What we decided to do was follow the drainage areas along creek beds where there were older well-established trees that intersect and divide the miles and miles of cultivated fields in Illinois. We had great success in following these creek beds using a DeLorme Topographic map of Illinois. You can pick these up at any book store or Walmart or Target for around 20 bucks. They make them for every state. Some of these drainage areas contained thousands of Magicicadas while others didn't contain any at all.
About David Marshall and John Cooley of UCONN
David Marshall and John Cooley originally attended the University of Michigan where they studied the behavior of Periodical Cicadas. As Post docs they joined Professor Chris Simon at the University of Connecticut's Ecology and Evolutionary Biology lab.
Chris Simon studies Periodical Cicadas at the DNA level to determine their evolutionary tree and how the different broods relate to each other. She has also studied and written extensively on why some broods have switched their year life cycles.
Her studies along with John and David's studies of their behavior have made this trio a formidable team and has resulted in the discovery of a 4th species of 13 year Periodical Cicada known as Magicicada neotredecim.
To discover a new species of insect in the United States when virtually every known species of fauna has been described - and - is a Periodical Cicada no less - and - which said species has perhaps been studied carefully for hundreds of years by some of the best and most brilliant minds is a very significant thing and should not be taken lightly. I feel it a true honor to be able to work with these guys.
Back At Camp
It was a really long day working with Dave but it was interesting. Of course I didn't waste the opportunity by just sitting there. I was able to "pick his brain" and I asked a lot of questions about Periodical Cicadas and also talked about my observations and theories about them as well as the Annual Cicadas. All in all a really great day.
Back at camp John Cooley asked if I was interested in giving him a hand tomorrow working with the US Navy. They will be at Jubilee College State Park doing experiments on the cicadas and asked for our help in setting up experiments. I of course said yes.