Collaborative Research: Digitization TCN: InvertEBase: Reaching Back to See the Future: Species-rich Invertebrate Faunas Document Causes and Consequences of Biodiversity Shifts

Project: Research project

Project Details


The rapid biodiversity change in North America has significant effects on essential ecosystem services, from impact on soil health and nutrient cycling, to agriculture, forestry and water quality. Exploding populations of invasive species threaten fresh water and terrestrial habitats and potentially impact the natural resources of the nation. Easy access to robust, expertly vetted baseline data for species occurrences, abundances, and distribution ranges, and monitoring how these parameters have changed through time, will facilitate the protection of the nation's natural resources, and vastly improve the capacity for effective restoration, land management planning, and conservation management. Numerous undergraduate students will receive training in digitization technologies and a modular exhibit will be developed to engage public interest in biodiversity changes.

Effective monitoring requires easy electronic access to historical specimen baseline information for temporal and regional species diversity comparisons that can facilitate informed land management decisions. Vast amounts of specimen data are housed within the nation's natural history collections, but most of these data are not readily accessible from digital resources. Size and complexity of scientific specimen collections require major technological advances in capturing specimen data. The goal of this four-year collaborative project is the rapid digitization of >2 million specimens and their locality data from ten arthropod and mollusk collections housed at six major US museums in six states (Il, OH, AL,MI, DE, PA). This project will significantly automate specimen data capture by utilizing optical character and voice-recognition technologies. The digitized data from this project will be immediately deployed for habitat-based distribution modeling and analyses.This award is made as part of the National Resource for Digitization of Biological Collections through the Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections program and all data resulting from this award will be available through the national resource (

Effective start/end date9/1/148/31/19


  • National Science Foundation: $195,280.00


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