His M.S. thesis focused on abdominal color variation in syrphid flies and its possible connection with mimicry. He spent several months at the Smithsonian Institution entering their syrphid collection into a database under the direction ofF. Christian Thompson. Mr. Metz continues his interest in syrphid flies and has just recently published a joint paper with F. Christian Thompson, "A revision of the larger species of Toxomerus (Diptera: Syrphidae) with description of a new species." in Studia Dipterologica 8(1) 225-256 (abstract).
Mr. Metz finished course requirements for a Ph.D. in the Department of Entomology at UIUC and has supplemented his curriculum with coursework ranging in subjects from evolutionary ecology to mathematical modeling. He advanced to Ph.D. candidacy by passing his oral examinations in the Department of Entomology, but transferred to the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences where he expects to obtain his Ph.D. degree by spring 2002.
Informal aspects of training have included, but have not been limited to, field collecting techniques, insect identification, grant proposal composition, and meeting presentation and organization skills. Computer skills have been emphasized and both coursework and on hand experience in databasing, GIS, HTML construction, and other basic computer programs have been acquired. In addition, Mr. Metz has translated over 50 species descriptions from the original German and Latin texts and is improving his proficiency in German by taking coursework at UIUC.
Mr. Metz' first therevid publication with Irwin as co-author, "Revision ofLindneria Kröber, with the Description of Two New Genera Insulatitan andAmbradolon, a Fossil from Dominican Amber (Diptera: Therevidae:Therevinae)" was published in September 2000 in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 93(5): 977-1018. In this paper, Metz & Irwin diagnosed a new genus of Therevidae from Dominican amber. Cladistic analysis of the species possessing putative synapomorphies with the fossil resolved three additional monophyletic therevid genera. Overall, the revision introduced two new genera, eleven new species and a new combination to science. Metz and Irwin's second article, "Microtrombidiid mite parasitization frequencies and attachment site preferences on brachyceran Diptera with specific reference to Therevidae (Asiloidea) and Tachinidae (Oestroidea)" is scheduled to be published in the October 2001 issue of Environmental Entomology.
Mr. Metz continues research on the relationship of male and femaleOzodiceromyia nanella (Cole) genitalia. He has two years of data on a population from a site in New Mexico and wrote two small proposals to continue this work in 1998. Mr. Metz also initiated the study of the association of the families of Diptera with parasitic mites from the same site in New Mexico.
For his Ph.D dissertation, Mark is revising the higher therevine genera. Some monophyletic units within the fly family, Therevidae, await characterization using modern phylogenetic techniques. Putative synapomorphies have been suggested for the two described subfamilies, Phycinae and Therevinae, but the relationships of the genera have not been determined cladistically. The higher Therevinae consist of 55+ described and manuscript genera from every biotic region. An establishment of monophyletic groups using modern cladistic techniques will more easily enable future generic revisions within this poorly known family. Currently, his dissertation study continues to expand as the relationships between therevid subfamilies remains unresolved, disallowing any monophyly on which to base a subfamilial analysis.
In the summer of 2000, Mr. Metz was a teaching associate and guest lecturer in the general entomology course (Ent 301) with Dr. Samuel Beshers. Mark won an award for his teaching by being nominated by his students for the partial list of teachers regarded as outstanding for the summer term.