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TITLE: CSBR: An inordinate fondness for beetles – expanding access to the Triplehorn collection of Coleoptera, phase 2.

Norman Johnson (Principal Investigator) & Luciana Musetti (Co-Principal Investigator)

Start Date: 09/01/2021
End Date: 08/31/2024

ABSTRACT:  The beetles of the Triplehorn Insect Collection at The Ohio State University are a rich resource that represent more than a century of collecting effort around the world, but primarily in the United States. Through the efforts of faculty, staff, and students these specimens extensively document both the composition and changes in insect diversity, particularly in the Midwest and the American Southwest. Unhindered access to these specimens and their data will result in enhancement of studies of the taxonomy and phylogeny of beetles, better understanding of the effects of past invasions of exotic species, and development of more accurate predictions of the impact of habitat alterations resulting from changes in land use and shifts in human population patterns.

Rehousing is needed in order to facilitate loans, enable visitors to study materials, and allow access to the specimens for label data transcription. The demands on our collection require that we maximize both storage capacity as well as physical and digital accessibility.

We propose to transfer the remainder of the entire beetle collection to modern, archival-quality materials to achieve this goal and eliminate the use of naphthalene as a repellent of museum pests. Staff, student workers, and volunteers in the collection will rehouse the specimens in new, secure cabinets, drawers and unit trays. The work will be coordinated with transcription of the data on the labels attached to each specimen. These data will then go through a quality assurance check before being stored in the collection’s electronic database. This information resource is open to the general public, and its contents are automatically shared with iDigBio, the national clearinghouse for biodiversity information, and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, the worldwide counterpart. The data associated with a newly acquired collection of tiger beetles will be the focus of a citizen science collaboration. The specimens and labels will be photographed and uploaded to Notes from Nature, and with the help of lay collaborators, the data will be transcribed and then uploaded into the collection database. This work will then ensure the maintenance and availability of specimens and their data for future research, resources that are the results of more than a century of collecting effort.

This is a natural continuation of an earlier NSF funded project to capture and disseminate the specimen metadata (collecting data, identifications, etc.) for our collection of ground and darkling beetles. The project will provide the physical and virtual access needed to the hundreds of thousands of beetle specimens in our holdings and transform a significant part of the Triplehorn Collection from a static warehouse to a resource that is maximally accessible and secure.

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Funded by the National Science Foundation

Award # 2035537

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