Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2016 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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Introducing LepNet - the Lepidoptera of North America Network
Nico Franz, Neil Cobb, Benjamin Brandt, Anne Basham

Building: CTEC
Room: Auditorium
Date: 2016-12-09 02:40 PM – 02:45 PM
Last modified: 2016-11-04


This lightining talk will announce and introduce "LetNep", the project "Lepidoptera of North America Network: Documenting Diversity in the Largest Clade of Herbivores." The project website is http://lep-net.org/ and the LepNet portal is available at http://symbiota4.acis.ufl.edu/scan/lepnet/portal/index.php. LepNet is a newly funded Thematic Collections Network in North America and also, in an important sense, a continuation and strengthening of SCAN - the Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network (http://symbiota4.acis.ufl.edu/scan/portal/).

LepNet comprises 26 research collections that will digitize approximately 2 million specimen records and integrate these with over 1 million existing records. LepNet will digitize 43,280 larval vial records with host plant data, making this the first significant digitization of larvae in North American collections. LepNet will produce ca. 82,000 high-quality images of exemplar species covering 60% of North American lepidopteran species. These images will enhance remote identifications and facilitate systematic, ecological, and global change research. In collaboration with Visipedia, LepNet will create LepSnap, a computer vision tool that can provide automated identifications to the species level. Museum volunteers and student researchers equipped with smartphones will image >132,000 additional research-quality images through LepSnap. Up to 5,000 lepidopteran species will be elevated to a "research ready" status suitable for complex, data-driven analyses. LepNet will build on the existing data portal (SCAN) in consolidating data on Lepidoptera to the evolution of lepidopteran herbivores in North America. Access to these data will be increased through integration with iDigBio. Data for a broad range of research, including the evolutionary ecology of Lepidoptera and their host plants in the context of global change processes affecting biogeographic distributions will be generated. The LepXPLOR! program will spearhead education and outreach efforts for 67 existing programs, engaging a diverse, nationwide workforce of 400+ students and 3,500+ volunteers. Overall, LepNet will generate a sustainable social-research network dedicated to the creation and maintenance of a digital collection of North American Lepidoptera specimens.