The Lepidoptera of North America Thematic Collections Network (LepNet TCN) will serves as a hub for integrating millions of occurrence records for Lepidoptera. The project is funded by the NSF-ADBC program ($3.2 million, 2016-2020) and includes 27 core museums distributed across the United States. We will accomplish the following goals:
- Digitize 1.7 million adult specimens and 58,524 larval vial records while integrating >1 million existing lepidopteran records, for a total of at least 2.7 million occurrence records.
- Produce high-resolution species exemplar images of 81,000 adult museum specimens representing at least 60% of the 14,300+ North American Lepidoptera species to enhance remote identifications and promote systematic and ecological research.
- Implement computer identification workflow (LepSnap) to exponentially increase capacity for identification of museum specimens and consequently promote imaging additional specimens.
- Develop smartphone applications via LepSnap for student researchers and volunteers to image cataloged specimens and add >160,000 images beyond the high-resolution species exemplars.
- Catalyse novel, data- and hypothesis-driven research advancing our understanding of the wide-ranging factors that influence the evolution and ecology of Lepidoptera and plant-herbivore interactions; within and across taxonomic and functional groups and spatial scales.
- Disseminate rich education-outreach content to students and the public through LepXPLOR.