I am an entomologist and a conservation biologist. My interests lie in both theoretical questions of the evolution of insects and other invertebrates, and in practical application of this knowledge towards protecting the greatest proportion of our planet's quickly vanishing and often still unknown biodiversity

  Taxonomy, systematics and bioinformatics

Mustius

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My research concentrates on the systematics and evolution of singing insects, especially katydids and their relatives (Orthoptera: Tettigonioidea). Currently I am working as a Postdoctoral Fellow and a Research Associate at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University on the higher phylogeny of katydids, using both morphological characters and several molecular markers. The questions I want to answer relate to the origin and function of female stridulation (sound production) and losses of stridulation in the males. I am particularly interested in the question of the early role of female acoustic behavior, which might have been used primarily in courtship, rather than as a defensive mechanism.

I am also conducting an NSF-funded survey of katydids and relatives of South Africa, with the ultimate goal of producing a comprehensive monograph and tools for identification of all species of this economically important group of insects. In the process I have been describing many new species and revising poorly known genera from the African continent.

I have always been interested in developing tools for creating access to taxonomic and biodiversity information, and I am one of the creators of the global online catalog of the order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, katydids and relatives), the Orthoptera Species File Online, which was the first and most comprehensive taxonomic Internet resource for any large group of insects. I have also co-authored and designed the software for the recent digital version of the “Bolton’s Catalogue of Ants of the World.” The freely available database software “Mantis” that I developed has been a popular information management system for taxonomists for many years.

Examples of my taxonomic and systematic publications:

Naskrecki, P. and D.C.F. Rentz. 2010. Studies in the orthopteran fauna of Melanesia: New katydids of the tribe Agraeciini from Papua New Guinea (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae: Conocephalinae). Zootaxa, 2664: 1-35.

Naskrecki, P. and C.S. Bazelet. 2009. A species radiation among South African flightless spring katydids (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae: Phaneropterinae: Brinckiella Chopard). Zootaxa, 2056: 46–62.

Naskrecki, P. 2008. Sylvan katydids (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae: Pseudophyllinae) of the Guinean Forests of West Africa hotspot: an overview and descriptions of new species. Zootaxa 1712: 1-41

Naskrecki, P. 2008. A new ricinuleid of the genus Ricinoides Ewing (Arachnida, Ricinulei) from Ghana. Zootaxa 1698: 57-64.

Naskrecki, P. and K. Nishida. 2007. Novel trophobiotic interactions in lantern bugs (Insecta: Auchenorrhyncha: Fulgoridae). Journal of Natural History 41(37–40): 2397–2402.

Naskrecki, P., Colwell, R.K. 1998. Systematics and host plant affiliations of hummingbird flower mites of the genera Tropicoseius Baker and Yunker and Rhinoseius Baker and Yunker (Acari: Mesostigmata: Ascidae). Monographs of the Entomological Society of America, 128 pp.

 

  Conservation

Achatina

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I spent several years leading the Invertebrate Diversity Initiative at Conservation International, during which time I built tools and protocols that helped include insects and other invertebrate animals in conservation practices. Among others, I helped develop a system for automatic recording and species recognition of singing insects for remote monitoring of environmental changes in the tropical rainforest canopy, and lead and participated in over a dozen biodiversity surveys in some of the most remote and threatened areas of the globe.

Currently I am involved in the efforts to create a new national park in the SE Ghana to protect the Atewa Plateau, a remarkable sanctuary of West African biodiversity, and one of the last remaining fragments of the Upland Guinean rainforest.

Examples of my conservation-related publications:

McCullough, J., P. Hoke, P. Naskrecki and Y. Osei-Owusu. 2009. Rapid Biological Assessment of the Ajenjua Bepo and Mamang River Forest Reserves, Ghana. RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 50, Conservation Internaltional, Arlington VA, 200 pp.

McCullough, J., L. Alonso, P. Naskrecki and Y. Osei-Owusu. 2008. A Rapid Biodiversity Assessment of the Atewa Range Forest Reserve, Ghana. RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 47, Conservation Internaltional, Arlington VA, 184 pp.

Brandes, T. S., P. Naskrecki and H. K. Figueroa. 2006. Using image processing to detect and classify narrow-band cricket and frog calls. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America Volume: 120(5): 2950-2957.

 

   
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