Class Supplies and Equipment
A collection of aquatic insects and a field notebook will be required as a part of this course. The collection will represent 30% of your final grade. Collections will be preserved in ethyl alcohol and stored (usually) in 4 dram glass screw-top vials: The following equipment is either required (denoted in bold) or suggested.
Vials. You will need about 70-100 screw-top vials that can be purchased from Fisher Scientific, BioQuip, and several other sources. The 4-dram size is most versatile, but you may wish to purchase a few larger sizes (8-dram vials or 1-2 oz. jars) for very large or wide specimens. Perserving alcohol (80% EtOH) will be provided in lab. Your GSI also strongly recommends you purchase polyseal vial caps (lids) that perform much better for long-term storage. Although more expensive than the cheaper paper-seal varieties, they are worth it if you desire to keep your collection in good condition over many years.
Forceps. Purchasing your own is highly recommended as the school forceps usually are not in good condition, and may not be available. Forceps come in different types and qualities. The inexpensive forceps or tweezers usually sold in science dissecting kits are not recommended, as they have very blunt tips and poor mechanical action that makes difficult the handling of small, fragile aquatic insects. Some book stores around town sell inexpensive but adequate watchmaker straight BB with ex-sharp fine points. BioQuip and most other of the large science supply distributors also sell forceps of variable quality and price. Good quality fine sharp tipped forceps are currently about $7 each, with very good quality Swiss forceps about $15-20. The best forcep quality (e.g., Dumont #4 and #5) are very expensive, usually $25 and up. There are also forceps with offset (angled) or curved points, which can be very useful when handling fragile specimens or viewing features observable only in awkward angles. Your current GSI recommends purchasing at least two (2) forceps for lab work, and one inexpensive pair for field collecting.
Dissecting (or pinning) needles with a wood handle. Buy very find points and fasten onto wooden handles, which make useful dissecting or slide-mounting tools. Purchase of high-quality extra-fine point forceps can replace this, however.
Drafting Pen and Labelling Materials. India ink pens, used to make permanent labels, have largely been replaced by Micro-Pens (e.g., Pigma Micron made by Sakura Color Products in Japan). When allowed to dry (about 1 minute or so), the ink does not dissolve in alcohol or water. Your GSI recommends buying the 01 diameter. These cost less than $3 each. Also, you will need blank index cards or high-pound (heavier) white paper for making labels to insert with your specimens. These can also be made with laser printers that emulsify toner at high temperatures, or with ink-jet printers only with water- and alcohol-proof ink (otherwise the label's lettering will bleed and disappear), although this is difficult to obtain. You may also want to purchase either white or multicolor 1/2" or 3/4" round adhesive labels (e.g., Avery) for the top of your vial stoppers; this really helps you in organizing your collection.
Field Note Book. A field notebook, preferably small and spiral bound, must be kept for collection sites and handed in with your collection.
Waders. The school provides chest waders, however, you may wish to purchase and use your own to insure their integrity and correct fitting. The school waders are first-come, first-serve during field trips. Neoprene waders tend to be more expensive, but provide better insulation. However, during warm or hot weather, these can be rather uncomfortable, and regular rubber waders are preferred. The lower-height hip waders are not recommended for trips at this time of year, as water levels are too high. They are, however, very comfortable and useful for wetlands and ponds, littorial areas of lakes and shallower streams and rivers.
Small hand lens. This can be useful for observing insects in the field, but is not necessary.
Page created: January 16, 2001
Page last edited: January 24, 2005 (EB)