Bee Library Campaign In Review

Image of Bombus fraternus from the Purdue Entomological Research Collection mobilized by the Bee Library Portal Campaign (PERC-0112328).

In 2021, the University of California-Santa Barbara and collaborating institutions received NSF funding to capture and aggregate bee image, trait, and specimen data as part of a three-year “Big-Bee” Thematic Collections Network (Seltmann et al., 2021). Central to this project is The Bee Library, a Symbiota portal dedicated to the aggregation bee data mobilized by the TCN. In September 2023, Big-Bee PI Katja Seltmann and the Symbiota Support Hub conducted a Bee Data Mobilization Campaign to increase the data being shared to this portal, with emphasis on collections from government and academic research labs. Highlights of the Bee Library portal campaign included:

  • Engaging 17 representatives of bee research collections through a series of three virtual meetings (recordings below), 16 (94%) who had not previously participated in the Big-Bee TCN
  • Adding 32 collections and 784,407 specimen occurrences to the Bee Library, including several large datasets from federal bee research labs and 74,349 records with genetic sequence data from the Barcode of Life
  • Increasing the total number of records in the portal with georeferences to 1.15 M records (88% georeferenced in total)
  • Adding 1,128 taxa (including 40 genera and 1,081 species) to the Bee Library’s central taxonomic thesaurus
Geographic distribution of specimen records in the Bee Library as of October 12, 2023.
#1 = United States = 2.19M records
#50 = Democratic Rep. of the Congo = 1,987 records
Total Specimen Records in Portal: 3,378,115

Seltmann KC, Allen J, Brown BV, Carper A, Engel MS, Franz N, Gilbert E, Grinter C, Gonzalez VH, Horsley P, Lee S, Maier C, Miko I, Morris P, Oboyski P, Pierce NE, Poelen J, Scott VL, Smith M, Talamas EJ, Tsutsui ND, Tucker E (2021) Announcing Big-Bee: An initiative to promote understanding of bees through image and trait digitization. Biodiversity Information Science and Standards 5: e74037. 

Thank you to everyone who shared data with the Bee Library as part of this event! The Symbiota Support Hub looks forward to working with the Big-Bee TCN and Bee Library data contributors into the future.