2nd expedition of the NHM Chalcids launched on ‘Magnified’

We’re pleased to launch our second batch of microscope slides featuring the parasitoid wasps called Chalcids (pronounced ‘kal-sids’), which lay their eggs inside other insects. 

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that we have updated the Expedition title from ‘Killer Wasps’ to “Miniature Lives Magnified” and have made some small tweaks to the structure of the Workflow, and have also attempted to make our instructions and ‘Need more Help?’ text and examples more clear. Do drop us a note in the Talk forum if we can continue to make further improvements.

miniature-lives-magnified

The Background Story

As part of our effort to digitise the collections of the Natural History Museum London, we have been collaborating with the Notes from Nature team to explore the potential of crowdsourcing the transcription of our specimen labels. 

Our first pilot project was called The killer within: Wasps but not as you know them, and was launched in the newly-created ‘Magnified’ section on Notes from Nature on August 16th, 2016.

The purpose of this initial Expedition was to test the functionality of the platform, and the difficulty of the task for the community of volunteers.

Your response was stellar – over 600 people got involved in completing the first batch of 2,000+ slides  – a particular thank-you goes out to our 9 super-transcribers @maggiej , @reinheitscat , @dfreezor , @Sagaman , @HDumas , @RedBee , @stevenhm , @rgerman , and @Mikusan. The data-set that you have created for us is looking good. We are therefore launching our second batch of slides with confidence!

About the Chalcids

These microscope slides feature parasitoid wasps called Chalcids (pronounced ‘kal-sids’), which lay their eggs inside other insects. These tiny wasps are parasitoids, meaning they lay their eggs inside other insects. When chalcid eggs hatch the emerging larvae eat the inside of their host. They then grow and pupate until mature enough to burst out as adults, finally killing the host.

We have 6286 microscope slides in the collection and are asking the crowdsourcing community to collect data about when and where the specimen was collected, who by, and what host species it was collected from, as well as some museum collection data.

Here’s an example:

example-slide

These microscope slides contain the smallest members of the Chalcidoidea Superfamily, which are unfortunately impossible to see in the images on Notes from Nature – we encourage you to take a peak at those that are large enough to pin – their variety and beauty is amazing!

lycisca-ogloblina-hedqvist-1961

Hundreds of Chalcidoidea species have been used in biological control programs to combat insect pest species that damage crops, this translates into millions of pounds of savings in the agricultural sector.  Digitisation of Museum specimens such as those in our Miniature Lives Magnified project will help unlock and preserve species and distribution data essential for carrying out research to develop such programs.”- Natalie Dale-Skey Curator, Entomology

 

 

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About margaretgold

I'm the Science Community Coordinator at the Natural History Museum, London where I work together with our Digital Collections team and Citizen Science teams to help set the world's Natural History data free. I also lead the crowdsourcing work within SYNTHESYS, which is an EC-funded project creating an integrated European infrastructure for natural history collections.

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