It's an exciting time for the CCBER insect collection! Thanks to a grant awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, we now have 170 new drawers to house our Adrian Wenner historic insect collection. As it has been housed in very old drawers and is relatively inaccessible in its current state, new drawers are key to moving forward in curation and imaging of the collection. Originally used as a teaching collection by Professor Wenner for his general entomology course taught from 1961 to 1993, this collection's diversity (9,000 insects in 21 orders and 246 families) makes it a valuable historical record of insects in endangered coastal California habitats.
The arrival of the new drawers is only the beginning of upgrading the historical Wenner insect collection and increasing its usefulness in restoration ecology. After identifying insects to genus and species (when possible), the collection will be imaged and placed in a database where it can be uploaded to the CCBER online collection as well as other online databases such as Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio). Above, one can see the stark difference between the new and old drawers. In addition to the drawers, we recieved several tables for volunteers, interns, and student workers to identify insects on.
The preservation and digitization of the Wenner collection will further our ability to include insects in restoration assessments by providing a much needed local historic baseline of insect diversity. As education is an integral part of CCBER's work, upgrading the collection will also include developing an insect curation skills course and providing workshops on insect identification. UCSB students also engage in the collections through the Natural History Collections Club, where over 50 members work with CCBER to improve curation of the collections.
Thanks for reading about these exciting insect collection developments, and stay tuned for more info!