New Expeditions: Ground Beetles

Ground Beetles (Carabidae) are one of the most diverse animal families in the world with ca. 40,000 species known world-wide. They also dominate in both diversity and abundance at northern latitudes making them important ecological indicators on the effects of changing climates. For this reason, documenting ground beetle biodiversity throughout North America has become the major focus of large international collaborations such as one between the National Ecological Observation Network (NEON) in the US and the Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD). However, while efforts such as these have placed an emphasis on new ground beetle specimens, a swath of information remains to be tapped from numerous museums and collections throughout the world with historical collections.

With one of the largest holdings of ground beetles in North America at over 210,000 specimens, the E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum (UASM) at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada has made a serious effort to digitize its carabid collection and make its data publicly available for researchers. At present, label data from over 170,000 specimens has been digitized and is searchable from online data aggregators such as Canadensys, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), iDigBio, and the Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network (SCAN). Now through the assistance of Notes from Nature, we aim to digitize the remainder of our ground beetle specimens (~41,000) by enlisting the help of citizen scientists such as you.

Give our 1st expedition (Tiger Beetles 1) a try, and marvel at the color patterns of these magnificent beasts!

 

–Bryan Brunet, PhD

Collections Management Advisor (Natural Sciences), University of Alberta Museums, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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