ACA Hosts Beetle Expert Who Discovers Over 1,000 New Species
February 21, 2016
Caroline Chaboo, Ph.D., (left) is an assistant professor of evolutionary biology and a curator of the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Kansas. She has developed deep beetle expertise through field work in some 25 different countries and through many years of research and publishing scientific papers on the subject. During the past decade, she has focused her research on Peru in collaboration with ACA.
Back in 2006, Chaboo applied for an ACA fellowship and received one. “That is how I became hooked on doing my field work in Peru in conjunction with ACA. Also, ACA has three field stations in Peru, and they encompass different forest types – rainforest, bamboo forest, riverine forest, cloud forest, and even alpine grasslands. Now I conduct my research at all three field stations and return year after year to them in order to continue it.”
Scientists weren’t sure how many beetle species were in Peru until recently when a series of scientific papers titled “Beetles of Peru” was published and announced that the number is more than 10,000. The project reflects a decade of inventory, led by Chaboo who along with 40 beetle experts from around the world believe that they have discovered more than 1,000 new species at ACA’s biological stations and around Peru.
True, field work in the ACA stations in Peru has its challenges, Chaboo admitted. “It is time-consuming and expensive to conduct these large expeditions to remote places. And I always take groups of students with me. I teach them how to hike and navigate through a forest, how to trap beetles in various micro-habitats. But for both them and myself, it is a joyous experience, hiking, running, exploring, and discovering nature and evolution first-hand, not just from a textbook.”