This 3-minute video from California Academy of Sciences’s Science Today describes how scientists across the state of California need your help studying insects collected over the past 130 years.
Natural history collections house over a billion insect specimens worldwide collected over several centuries. Specimen labels encode data denoting species, location, and date captured and are used to study biogeographic patterns, spread of invasive species, and responses to land use, climate, and other environmental changes. However, access to data is impractical for most of the research community. Because of enormous collection sizes, entomology has lagged behind other disciplines in digitizing collections. In 2010, funded by the National Science Foundation, the eight major terrestrial arthropod collections in California formed CalBug, a collaborative effort to digitize and georeference insects and spiders collected throughout California, adding hundreds of thousands of records to the California Terrestrial Arthropods Database.