The Florida State Collection of Arthropods (FSCA) is the largest arthropod reference and research collection in the Southeastern United States. The FSCA is over 100 years old with more than 12.5 million curated insect and related arthropod specimens and is one of the five largest museums in North and South America. We have a broad collection, including representatives across the major groups of insects with specific strengths in beetles, dragonflies, spiders, grasshoppers and true bugs.

The Young Scholars Program will take students through all the major steps involved in building and maintaining a natural history museum for research and education. Students will collect insect specimens, process specimens following the standards set by the scientific community and contribute to and curate parts of the FSCA. Students will also learn the value of specimen data. They will share their data with online natural history collection aggregators, such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) to see how the larger community uses these data. Students will work with Ph.D.-level entomologists and be provided with all of the equipment and literature needed for the program.

Activities include:

  1. Fieldwork – students start by sampling a few insects in the surrounding area, exposure to basic trapping, and short-term preservation.
  2. Sample sorting – students retrieve samples, rough sort to major groups and decide which representatives make it to the next stage.
  3. Specimen preparation – students learn various curatorial techniques, including pinning, pointing, vials, envelopes, etc.
  4. Labels – students learn the essential parts of a research-grade specimen locality label and generate those labels for the previously prepared specimens.
  5. Identification – students practice identifying insects to the lowest possible level with available diagnostic tools.
  6. Databasing – identified specimens are given GUID barcodes, and the data is entered into a standard format.
  7. Publishing – Those data are uploaded to online data aggregators (like GBIF) and made available to the larger scientific community.

For more information, email [email protected]


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