Purdue University has received more than $3.6 million in total grants from the National Science Foundation to equip the Department of Entomology’s facilities with new drawers and expand its specimen database.
Purdue will also use the funds to provide researchers access to collections-based data in order to help them trace the history of insect-borne diseases, determine water quality changes and monitor climate changes in the environment, Purdue said Tuesday.
“This project will raise awareness of the importance of insects and natural history collections through public engagement, aquatic ecosystem workshops, and rural community youth programs,” said Jennifer Zaspel, principal investigator and director of the Purdue Entomological Research Collection.
Purdue will also train junior researchers and undergraduate students in the preservation of entomological specimens.
The university will share one grant with Northern Arizona University and 25 other partner institutions to develop LepNet, a digital network expansion project; and the other grant with Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus to revive the Purdue Entomological Research Collection project.
PERC houses more than 1.5 million insect specimens from across the world and the specimen data will be sent to educational networks such as iDigBio and SCAN.