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Arizona State University’s insect collection is going high-tech and will soon be available for viewing as a virtual museum. For the first time, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will provide funding to the university and nine other institutions to help digitize and network images and label data of 750,000 arthropod specimens.
As part of the Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections program, ASU and regional partners will help create a comprehensive regional database called Southwest Collections of Arthropods Network (SCAN). With support from a nearly $2 million award, this project will bring together 10 arthropod collections located in universities and museums in the southwestern United States and adjoining areas of Mexico. These collections offer extensive information about biodiversity and how it has changed over time in the Southwest.
By digitizing arthropod collections and creating a national, easily-accessed online database, researchers from multiple disciplines and in multiple regions of the world will be able to conduct specimen-based biogeographic research and study the ecological and evolutionary impacts of climate change on key organismal groups.
Southwest Collections of Arthropods Network includes collaborators from Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona, University of Colorado, Colorado State University, Texas Tech University, Texas AgriLife Research, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, New Mexico State University and University of New Mexico.