Purdue University’s Department of Entomology has received two National Science Foundation grants totaling more than $3.6 million for collections-based research. The university says the grants will help fund facility updates and educational outreach programs.
Purdue says the funding will help made its collections-based data more readily available online to researchers throughout the world. Entomologists from the university will share the first grant with 26 other institutions to develop a LepNet, a digital network expansion project.
"This project will raise awareness of the importance of insects and natural history collections through public engagement, aquatic ecosystem workshops, and rural community youth programs," said Jennifer Zaspel, director of the Purdue Entomological Research Collection.
The second grant will be shared with Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus for the preservation and revitalization of the PERC, which houses the largest insect collection in the state with more than 1.5 million specimens from around the world. Purdue says the grants will also help the PERC provide training in proper preservation and handling of specimens.
The funding will also allow Purdue to update its facilities with modern drawers and cabinets, along with an expansion of the specimen database.