Tracking Changes of Important Pollinators at Biodiverse Sites in Santa Cruz County

Mentor name – Lab group: Ken Norris Center for Natural History at UCSC

Positions: 1-3 interns

Tentative dates: Spring and Summer 2021

Project Location: Main campus with field sites all over Santa Cruz County

Project Background: CAMINO students at the Norris Center would help resurvey biodiverse sites around Santa Cruz County for important pollinator insects, including bees, flies, butterflies, and moths. Students would learn how to re-trace transects surveyed by local Santa Cruz naturalist Randall Morgan in the 1990’s. The students would learn how to identify insects, identify plants, capture insects, sort insects, pin insects, associate all metadata with insect specimens, and how to analyze data on insect surveys. Possible final projects include comparisons of pollinator richness from the 1990’s to today, correlations between habitat changes/plant diversity and changes in pollinator richness, natural history studies on various insect taxa, descriptions of changing insect communities or behavior over a summer, and more.

This is a terrific opportunity for someone excited by natural history and working in a vibrant community of naturalists. The Norris Center is UCSC’s natural history museum and is home to over 100,000 specimens ranging from birds and mammals to insects, fungi, and plants. The Norris Center supports a large community of student and community naturalists who participate in classes, internships, research projects, nature art workshops, and public events. Read more about our center at

Intern duties: Conducting field surveys for pollinators at local field sites in Santa Cruz County; curation (pinning, sorting, labeling, identification, data digitization) of pollinator specimens in the Norris Center; development of individual research project within the scope of broader survey goals; analysis, writeup, and presentation of project results

Intern qualifications: Comfortable with strenuous physical activity in the field; enthusiasm for post-survey curatorial work in museum to process collected insects; extreme attention to detail associated with insect curation; background in ecology and/or entomology recommended (but not required)

Do you recommend the intern(s) volunteer in your lab during Spring quarter?
Yes- this would be beneficial if possible, but it’s not required.

UC Santa Cruz Land Acknowledgement

“The land from which we base our work is the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, comprised of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, is today working hard to restore traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from historical trauma.”