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June 27, 2014

Margaret Cawsey, Curator of Data, Australian National Wildlife Collection, CSIRO


Friday 4 July 11:00

Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)


Specimen-based collection records from museums and herbaria are often regarded as a more authoritative basis for research than observational assertions. Through the Atlas of Living Australia (, Australian collections have a centralised venue for sharing their biodiversity data on a large scale. *3.3 million collection records are brought together with a variety of tools that enable researchers to select, interrogate, map and analyse these data. Scientists are taking advantage of the increasing accessibility and large numbers of these records to enhance their research - illustrative examples are presented. Advantage also accrues to collections, in that the value of their data to researchers, policy-makers, environmental managers and the community at large is demonstrated by data download statistics. The Atlas also provides tools for researchers to communicate with curators, in effect permitting collections to crowd-source the expert identification of data errors, facilitating rapid correction.

(*3.1 million have locational coordinates)




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Wednesday 2 July 11:00


Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)



Insects of Porton Down


Duncan Sivell, Curator of Diptera, NHM


Porton Down, in Wiltshire, is a wildlife-rich site that is, unsurprisingly, poorly collected.  We have been on several collecting trips to Porton Down and involved in training staff there in collecting and sorting insects. Here I present some preliminary results from the first two years of this collaboration.


Sampling insects from wild potatoes and tomatoes in Peru


Daniel Whitmore, Curator of Diptera, NHM

One of the goals of the NHM’s Crops Wild Relatives Initiative is to map and model the distributions of plant wild relatives and their potential insect pests, based on the digitisation of museum collections and on the collection of new data from the wild. In late February-early March 2014 I participated in one of the CWR field trips in Peru. We explored four valleys in the Lima and Ancash departments from sea level up to 4700 m, sampling from ca. 30 sites and 130 plants. In this talk I will present an overview of the habitats we visited, the plants we sampled from, the collecting methods used and some (very) preliminary results, as well as a few entomological highlights from the trip.


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