While it's a little known and niche holiday, today (March 19th) is Taxonomist Appreciation Day. While I could go on a tangent about Carl Linnaeus, taxonomy isn't a dying field somewhere far away, and is being studied in our own science community. In honour of this, here's a digital piece I made :
The title of this piece, "Benthos" refers to benthic invertebrates, an often overlooked niche of organisms in the sediment of lakes and rivers. In particular, I chose to illustrate some key species that I would see in the Ciborowski lab, where I assisted a taxonomist in identifying them. Whether it be the mayflies that cover buildings in summer, or minute midge larvae, the diversity - and taxonomy - of these critters has been amazing to learn about.
Because taxa have different tolerances, researchers are able to assess the health and quality of wetlands, lakes and rivers by looking at the biodiversity of this community. This might not sound like some fancy genomic-sequencing-kind-of-science, don't be fooled; looking at the jaw of a midge larvae or counting segments of antennae isn't for the faint-hearted. Here's to all the hard work local taxonomists are doing!