Science Unwrapped: visualizing arthropod biodiversity on a non-native plant

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At USU’s Science Unwrapped public science outreach event in November, Lauren Lucas (pictured above) engaged budding science enthusiast of all ages by allowing them to explore the diversity of arthropods found on alfalfa, an introduced crop plant that has established feral populations across the western USA. This is linked to our own NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity project on the evolution of novel ecological interactions between this introduced plant and arthropods (especially the butterfly Lycaeides melissa) and microbes. Participants were encouraged to classify arthropods based on color (see below) as a way to visualize diversity in a manner accessible to non-specialists.

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