2. LepNet Project Goals
LepNet serves as a hub that integrates millions of occurrence records for one of the most popular and biologically important groups of insects. The project will unite data that are scattered both geographically and digitally. With our experienced team of researchers, taxonomists, and informatics experts, we will accomplish seven goals:
(1) Digitize 1.7 million adult specimens and 43,280 larval vial records while integrating >1 million existing lepidopteran records, for a total of 3 million occurrence records.
(2) Produce high-resolution species exemplar images of 95,170 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.
(3) Implement computer identification workflow (LepSnap) to exponentially increase capacity for identification of museum specimens and consequently promote imaging additional specimens.
(4) 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.
(5) Catalyze 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.
(6) Disseminate rich education-outreach content to students and the public through LepXPLOR.
(7) Develop a critical mass of digitization processes and contributors to yield a sustainable social-research network that will lead to the digitization of all North American Lepidoptera specimens.