Bee Databasing Project

The Cornell University Insect Collection has an extraordinary bee collection that dates from the latter part of the 19th century. Our holdings include over 350 drawers and between 150,000 and 270,000 bee specimens identified to ~3700 species (a complete list of our bee holdings is available at the link to Hymenoptera). Our holdings are especially strong for bees of North America, but members of the Danforth lab have conducted field work on bees in South America, Australia, Africa (including Madagascar), and Europe. The CUIC is involved in a major NSF-funded databasing project to make the specimen data from our collection available to scientists, policy-makers and the general public (“Collaborative Research: Collaborative Databasing of North American Bee Collections Within a Global Informatics Network”). The project involves a collaboration between the American Museum of Natural History, UC Riverside, USDA-ARS Bee Biology and Systematics Laboratory at Utah State University, Cornell University, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, California State Collection of Arthropods, Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, University of Connecticut, and Rutgers University to make our bee specimen data available via the Discover Life website. These data provide information on the current distributions of bees and their ecological and host-plant preferences, and will provide baseline data for studies of how bee species will be impacted by human activities and climate change.

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