Purdue University scientists who oversee a vast insect collection have won $3.6 million in funding to upgrade the storage space that holds its treasure trove of specimens.
Jennifer Zaspel is the director of the Purdue Entomological Research Collection. She says the National Science Foundation funding comes at a time of heightened awareness about the importance of maintaining natural history collections.
Zaspel says Purdue’s collection is Indiana’s largest, with more than 1.5 million specimens from across the globe, including the world’s most comprehensive collection of mayflies.
The funding will allow the collection to be updated with modern drawers and cabinets and expand its specimen database for use by other researchers. Scientists can use that data to trace the history of insect-borne diseases and changes in water quality and climate change.