Navigation Links
UC Riverside entomologist to oversee centralized database of bee specimens

RIVERSIDE, Calif. Even though there are more than 19,000 bee species worldwide more than 1,000 bee species are in California alone no single central repository for information about them exists.

That difficulty and inconvenience will be addressed, however, when Douglas Yanega, the senior museum scientist in the Department of Entomology at the University of California, Riverside, and colleagues begin digitizing and consolidating nearly one million specimen records from ten bee collections across the United States an endeavor made possible by a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation, of which UC Riverside will receive nearly $148,000 each year.

"Bees are the most important pollinators of the approximately one-third of crops that require animal pollination," said Yanega, co-principal investigator of the grant. "Recent declines in honey bee populations highlight the need to understand better the roles of native bees in agricultural and natural systems. This project will help predict risks to bees and their pollination services from climate change, habitat loss, and other factors."

Yanega and his colleagues, many of whom are trained taxonomists, will make or verify species identifications, capture full label data, georeference and error-check localities, and upload this information to publicly accessible databases. The primary public interface for the data from all of the collaborating collections will be the Discover Life Website

"The collective knowledge represented by museum specimens is one of the greatest biological resources in existence, but without databases, this knowledge is accessible only in tiny pieces, to only a handful of specialists," Yanega said. "Insect collections such as UCR's contain specimens dating back more than 200 years, often from habitats that have long since vanished. The picture of biological and ecological history that emerges from studying millions of specimens is impossible to imagine or obtain without first databasing those specimens."

UCR and the American Museum of Natural History, which is also being funded through the same grant, are the primary institutions collaborating on the project. Other partners are UC Davis, UC Berkeley, the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, the California State Collection of Arthropods, Utah State University, Cornell University, Rutgers University, and the University of Connecticut.

In order to database the bee specimens, Yanega and his colleagues first will capture as much data as they can on each specimen, then they will clean these data to make them intelligible and decipherable.

"This is crucial because the original specimen labels are typically incomplete, ambiguous, or even incorrect," Yanega said.

He explained that before a specimen can be databased, taxonomists need to be confident that the identification of each specimen is accurate, a step that requires an expert bee taxonomist to confirm that each specimen does indeed belong to the species it is registered under in a given collection.

"It would be a major problem if the records for one species such as a species on the verge of extinction, as many of our native bees are are mixed up with the records for species that are not threatened," Yanega said. "Such mix-ups could prevent the proper conservation of threatened species, or create imaginary threats where none actually exist. We want the science to truthfully inform the decision-making public, not misinform them."

At UCR, the grant will support, besides Yanega, a data entry technician. Yanega expects ecologists will use the data from the project to model geographic and temporal trends in bee populations, including California's vanishing bumblebee species.


Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
University of California - Riverside

Related biology news :

1. UC Riverside biologist receives prestigious MacArthur Fellowship
2. UC-Riverside partners with Chinese university to address Chinas environmental problems
3. Chemicals used as fire retardants could be harmful, UC-Riverside researchers say
4. UC Riverside to host conference on stricter air quality standards for Southern California
5. UC Riverside bioengineer receives high honor from chemical engineers
6. Tahitian vanilla originated in Maya forests, says UC Riverside botanist
7. UC Riverside botanist to study role of plants in southern Californias drought
8. UC Riverside biochemists devise method for bypassing aluminum toxicity effects in plants
9. Vitamin D a key player in overall health of several body organs, says UC Riverside biochemist
10. UC Riverside scientist to explore how vegetation affects urban heat islands
11. UC Riverside rice geneticist receives high honor from US Department of Agriculture
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
UC Riverside entomologist to oversee centralized database of bee specimens
(Date:11/12/2015)... , Nov. 12, 2015  Arxspan has ... of MIT and Harvard for use of its ... information management tools. The partnership will support the ... biological and chemical research information internally and with ... be used for managing the Institute,s electronic laboratory ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... ) ... "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" ... ) has announced the addition of ... 2015-2019" report to their offering. ... ) has announced the addition of the ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015  The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) policy ... and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for the Future," ... Human Services guidance for synthetic biology providers has worked ... --> --> Synthetic biology promises ... to pose unique biosecurity threats. It now is easier ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 SHPG ) ... participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference ... December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). ... Chief Financial Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th ... , NY on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS) ... remaining 11,000 post-share consolidation (or 1,100,000 pre-share consolidation) ... B Warrants") subject to the previously disclosed November ... 2015, which will result in the issuance of ... the issuance of such shares, there will be ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... InSphero AG, the leading supplier of easy-to-use ... promoted Melanie Aregger to serve as Chief Operating Officer. , Having joined ... management team and was promoted to Head of InSphero Diagnostics in 2014. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. ... the discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class therapeutics, today ... Officer, is scheduled to present at the 2015 Piper ... a.m. EST, at The Lotte New York Palace Hotel ... . --> . ...
Breaking Biology Technology: