Joseph McHugh, a professor of entomology in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, received $54,000 from the National Science Foundation to support the Lepidoptera of North America Network, or LepNet. This project will mobilize 29 research collections to digitize 2.1 million specimen records of Lepidoptera, an order of insects that includes both butterflies and moths.
McHugh is the curator of the UGA Collection of Arthropods at the Georgia Museum of Natural History where the project will be conducted.
This newly funded work will ultimately generate more than 95,000 high-quality images of different species, which researchers may use for complex data-driven science. Images produced for the project also will serve as the foundation for a number of educational, public awareness and conservation efforts.
LepNet has a nationwide workforce of more than 500 students and 4,000 volunteers, and they will help disseminate rich educational and outreach content to students and the public.