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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research » Research » Research Project #444883

Research Project: Curation, Digitization, and Databasing of Bee Specimens in the US National Pollinating Insects Collection

Location: Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research

Project Number: 2080-21000-019-073-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2023
End Date: Aug 30, 2025

Improve management of and access to bee specimens and their associated data (geospatial data, images, DNA sequences) in the US National Pollinating Insects Collection in Logan, Utah. Facilitate collaborative research with entities such as Utah State University and the U.S. Geological survey which increasingly ask for access to the database.

The U.S. National Pollinating Insects Collection (NPIC) houses over 2 million specimens and is considered to be one of the most important research collections for native bees in the USA. The collection supports research conducted by the Pollinating Insects Research Unit and collaborators and is foundational to the study native bee distribution, systematics, phylogenetics, ecology, genomics, and biology. A core function of the museum is to house voucher specimens for research projects and also type specimens that support taxonomic research. In addition to physical specimens, the collection maintains an electronic specimen database that provides access to bee distributional data and that is used to manage and keep track of specimens. The database also links to associated data like digital images, DNA sequences, and biotic interactions. Managing the collection and its associated database is a major undertaking and assistance is needed to facilitate this work and support the research of PIRU scientists and collaborators. In particular, help is needed to access, analyze, and share data with research collaborators and stakeholders. In cooperation with Utah State University and the U.S. Geological Survey, we will hire a curatorial assistant who will have the following responsibilities: (1) processing and curation of newly collected bee specimens; (2) processing and curation of voucher specimens for molecular and genomics projects; (3) management of the relational database, including training students and technicians in how to use the database; (4) creation of protocols detailing how to use the database and print specimen labels; (5) help with database queries and providing data to collaborators; (6) digitizing new and historical specimens; (7) identifying unsorted material to species and organizing the collection. The curatorial assistant will work closely with USDA and USU researchers to further research and collaboration.