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Insects in an agricultural field. Group project by Smithsonian Art Illustration Interns, Summer of 2009

SEL's mission is to conduct systematic or taxonomicresearchon economically important insects and mites, to provideidentificationsto U.S. ports in support of the resolution ofquarantineissues, and to fully enrich and enhance the United States National Insect Collection (Smithsonian Institution). SEL achieves these goals through many activities, including the discovery of new organisms in America's natural areas. These discoveries allow SEL to contribute to the quarantine of U.S. borders and our nation's food supply by providing tools that help differentiate between nativeand invasive species of insects and mites.

SEL's research and collection-based activities make a broad contribution to systematic studies being conducted worldwide, providing tissue samples for DNA analyses, genetic data to GenBank, and relevant collection-basedinformation, to other scientists - specimens are the raw material for all ecological, environmental, molecular, biogeography, and revisionary/systematic studies. 

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SEL and collections: a presentation at 2010
Entomological Society of America Meeting