Plants, Herbivores, and Parasitoids: A Model System for the Study of Tri-trophic Associations

From iDigBio
Jump to: navigation, search

Digitization TCN: Collaborative Research: Plants, Herbivores, and Parasitoids: A Model System for the Study of Tri-Trophic Associations

Project Summary

For up-to-date information and the Tri-Tropic blog please see our project website.

All the nearly 20,000 plant species in North America are attacked by insect pests, including those in the group Hemiptera (known as the “true bugs”), which are in turn attacked by parasitoid insects in the Hymenoptera (sawflies, wasps, ants), widely used for biological control of agricultural pests. This project will unify some eight million records in 34 collections to answer how the distributions and phenologies of the plants, pests and parasitoids relate to each other, in a Tri-Trophic Databasing and imaging project – the TTD. Data from this approach will benefit basic scientific questions and practical applications in the agricultural sciences, conservation biology, ecosystem studies and climate change and biogeography research. Technological tools and methods will be introduced to graduate students, affiliated universities, and grant-sponsored students from other institutions through a short course. A data-mining and species-distribution modeling symposium at the University of California-Riverside will foster interactions between systematics and ecological researchers, and explore the TTD as a platform for instruction and inquiry.

Current Research

Plants, Herbivores, and Parasitoids: A Model System for the Study of Tri-trophic Associations Primary Institutions: American Museum of Natural History & New York Botanical Garden Website: http://tcn.amnh.org/ All the nearly 20,000 plant species in North America are attacked by insect pests, including those in the group Hemiptera (known as the “true bugs”), which are in turn attacked by parasitoid insects in the Hymenoptera (sawflies, wasps, ants), widely used for biological control of agricultural pests. This project will unify some three million records in 34 collections to answer how the distributions and phenologies of the plants, pests and parasitoids relate to each other, in a Tri-Trophic Databasing and imaging project – the TTD. Data from this approach will benefit basic scientific questions and practical applications in the agricultural sciences, conservation biology, ecosystem studies and climate change and biogeography research.

A few recent highlights include:

1. Many newly digitized records! At the beginning of 2013 the TTD had approximately 250,000 newly transformed insect records and 250,000 plant images completed.
2. Dissemination of information through attendance at iDigBio workshops, meetings, and two articles in the recent ZooKeys special issue, No Specimen Left Behind (http://www.pensoft.net/journals/zookeys/issue/209/).
3. An intensive, research focused, specimen level biodiversity informatics short course is in the planning stage and will be held in 2013.
4. Many supervised volunteers are utilized at participating institutions (particularly the NYBG and AMNH) for georeferencing and data collection.
5. The TTD at AMNH is offering a Research Experience for Undergraduates this fall (http://research.amnh.org/physsci/reu.html).
6. DiscoverLife, one of the TTD partners, has developed a host interaction public portal (http://www.discoverlife.org/tttcn/) and a series of highly sophisticated locality cleaning and matching services for the project.
7. One of our AMNH digitizers won an EOL Rubenstein Fellow (http://eol.org/info/52) to pursue her interest in altitude specificity in floral coloration.
8. The principle software for capturing host – insect –parasitoid data from natural history collections, Arthropod Easy Data Capture, has been open-sourced (http://sourceforge.net/projects/arthropodeasy/).

Project Leadership

Project Sponsor: AMNH

Principal Investigator (PI):Randall T. Schuh, American Museum of Natural History

Collaborating Award PIs: Christine Johnson, American Museum of Natural History; Richard Rabeler, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Charles Bartlett, University of Delaware; Robert Naczi, New York Botanical Garden; Melissa Tulig, New York Botanical Garden; Robert Magill, Missouri Botanical Garden; John Heraty, University of California, Riverside; Christiane Weirauch, University of California, Riverside; Benjamin Normark, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

NSF Award Number

1115080

Project Websites

http://tcn.amnh.org/

Collaborators Map

https://www.idigbio.org/content/digitization-tcn-collaborative-research-plants-herbivores-and-parasitoids-model-system-study

Project Collaborators

Bishop Museum
California Academy of Sciences
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Colorado State University
Cornell University
Eastern Michigan University
Illinois Natural History Survey
Iowa State University
Miami University
Mississippi State University
Missouri Botanical Garden
New York Botanical Garden
North Carolina State University
Oregon State University
Texas A&M University
University of California – Berkeley
University of California – Riverside
University of Colorado
University of Delaware
University of Georgia
University of Kansas
University of Kentucky
University of Maine
University of Massachusetts
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota, Bell Museum of Natural History
University of Pennsylvania, East Stroudsberg
University of Texas
University of Wisconsin – Madison

Data Contributors

Canadian National Collection, Ottawa
Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria
Consortium of California Herbaria
Kansas State University
Southwest Biodiversity Consortium
University of California, Davis