Community ecologist, biodiversity scientist, and entomologist Crystal Ernst is cataloging insects, spiders, and other tiny creatures for the 100 Islands Project, a multiyear island biogeography study across the Central Coast of British Columbia. In this Hakai Institute video, 1000s of Bugs, 100 Islands, 1 Happy Entomologist, she’s collecting the specimens that will help define the islands’ existing bug life. The data can help scientists recognize future changes in the region’s ecosystem, as well as potentially inform conservation decisions. Ernst explains:

“This big blank space on these maps will soon be filled with all kinds of information that won’t just benefit my research program and that of the people I’m working with, but other researchers who are interested in diversity at a larger scale…

And it’s not just the diversity, but it’s that whole story of the interactions. The relationship between the things going on in the ocean and the things going in the land, and the insects, for me, are a super critical part of that story: Stuff comes in, the insects are feeding on it, and then that is getting transferred then up into the rest of the terrestrial system… the plants, the mammals, and the birds that are feeding on them. So by looking at those, we’re going to start unraveling some of that relationship that’s taking place.”

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