North American camel spiders (Arachnida, Solifugae, Eremobatidae): Systematic revision and biogeography of an understudied taxon
NSF ARTS PROPOSAL 1733117
This project will build upon past NSF funding (NSF EF-1207186 that supported the development of the SCAN database and DEB-0640245 that funded past biodiversity and revisionary work with Solifugae. We will use state-of-the-art techniques in molecular systematics, morphological character assessment, and more traditional taxonomic methodology to train a new generation of solifuge scientists including high school students from demographic groups underrepresented in STEM fields (6 – 12 students), undergraduates (12 - 24), two graduate students (one MS, one PhD), and one early career postdoctoral scholar. This project will train these students in modern systematic, taxonomic, and biogeographic methodologies. We will also develop innovative online resources that will help us leverage the expertise that still exists to excite a new generation of scientists who will move this field of study on this understudied group of animals forward. The online sites will also provide critical information about this group of arachnids to the general public. In addition, Cushing will develop a small exhibit as part of a changing “Science News” Kiosk at the DMNS highlighting results from the project.