Spotlight on Lucid users – Identification Technology Program – Invasive Bees

By USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab from Beltsville, Maryland, USA [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsIntroduction

As part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) division, the role of the Identification Technology Program is to develop digital products to support efficient and accurate identification of plant pests. The process used by the ITP team to achieve this aim is shown below.

ITP Lucid key project development process

Developing an invasive bee key

A previous Lucid newsletter (November 2015) described some Lucid products developed by the ITP, this spotlight article focuses on the development of identification tools to invasive bees, and some of the activities involved in the early stages of the project.

With many studies suggesting that bee populations and species are declining, with a potentially devastating impact on American agriculture, President Obama in 2014 established a Federal strategy to better understand the factors that affect the health of honey bees and other pollinators.

Invasive bees are known to compete with and displace native pollinators but can also bring along harmful exotic pathogens and parasites. In this context, a project – Invasive Bee ID – has the objective of developing accessible, user-friendly resources, tailored to support off-shore, port-of-entry, state, and local personnel responsible for screening and identifying native, introduced, and potentially invasive bee species in the USA.

The Invasive Bee ID team includes several entomologists from Utah State University (USU), a USDA Agricultural Research Service entomologist, who also curates the National Pollinating Insects Collection at USU, and a USDA APHIS port identifier who specializes in bees. ITP has worked with the USU team to map out a three-year work plan that includes multiple keys to genera and species of agriculturally important native and invasive bees, fact sheets and images, and additional supporting web content.

To kick off the project, ITP provided the team with training in creating Lucid keys and using ITP’s tool building methods and support software. Through the entire project, ITP will help support the Invasive Bee ID and the release of ID tools in three stages; new keys and fact sheets will be added each year.

More information on the ITP can be found in an article in the online Newsletter – “Plant Protection Today” https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/ppq-program-overview/plant-protection-today/articles/id-tools

PPQ Pest Identification Article

Spotlight on Lucid users – Landcare Research in New Zealand

Introduction

Landcare Research NZ, a Crown Research Institute, has created nine online plant keys hosted at http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/resources/identification/plants. Landcare Research New ZealandThese keys, mostly funded by the New Zealand Terrestrial & Freshwater Biodiversity Information System Programme (TFBIS), have been available since 2005 and will be updated to the Lucid JavaScript player edition in the near future.

The main Landcare Research authors, David Glenny, Murray Dawson, and Kerry Ford (at the Allan Herbarium), have collaborated with other colleagues, including Trevor James (weed scientist at AgResearch) and Jeremy Rolfe (Department of Conservation), to develop the following keys:

Key No#. taxa Brief Details
Key to flowering plant genera 1090 genera Native and naturalised genera (not cultivated-only)
NZ Weeds 667 taxa Similar to Environmental Weeds of Australia Lucid key – same architecture
NZ grasses 501 taxa Native and naturalised species
Native orchids 123 species Plus many tag-names
Coprosma spp. 53 species All native
Cotoneaster 26 species Wild or in cultivation
Weedy daisy 50 taxa Naturalised and weedy Asteraceae in the South Pacific region
  • Key to Australasian liverwort and hornwort generaA Lucid CD-ROM key to Australasian liverwort and hornwort genera, created by David Glenny and Bill Malcolm and including 181 New Zealand and Australian genera.
  • Two keys developed by two Teacher Fellows, hosted at Landcare Research:
    • Native plants for schools and marae (61 taxa)
    • Biodiversity assessment at Styx Mill Conservation Reserve (74 species of plants, birds, insects, etc.)
  • Two free Lucid Mobile apps available on Google Store and iTunes:
      • NZ Coprosma KeyCoprosma: a genus of native New Zealand woody plants. The app was created to help identify plants during ecological survey work, but is also useful to students, researchers, and others in the New Zealand botanical community.

     

     

     

Spotlight on Lucid users – Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

Introduction

Walter Reed Army Institute of ResearchMosquitoes have been important vectors of human pathogens for thousands of years, the recent outbreak of Zika virus being the latest evidence of the continuing risk they present. To address the problem of identifying different mosquito species, taxonomists at the Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit (WRBU – http://wrbu.si.edu/), within the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian Institution, have been working since the early 1960s to provide taxonomic information on the various genera and species of mosquito that transmit malaria, dengue and other pathogens.

The WRBU has focussed on building up, curating, and publishing on a mosquito collection, which is now the largest in the world, comprising over 1.5 million specimens. A primary role of the WRBU is to provide support for military personnel and others at the front line who require help in mosquito identification as part of vector-borne disease prevention. To this end, the Unit has been involved for some time in developing online computer-based identification keys for various regions of the world.

While some of these interactive, diagnostic matrix keys are still in development, many keys (>150) can be accessed from a Lucid Server via the WRBU website at – http://wrbu.si.edu/aors/aors_keys.html.

As shown in the following image, users can click on the geographic command (COM) area of concern for a list of keys appropriate to that region.

Mosquito Key regions

Key to Central American Malaria VectorsA recent development is the creation of Lucid Mobile Apps to enable easier access to the keys in the field. The first app is for Central American Malaria Vectors.

iOS iOS App – Apple iTunes

Android Android – Google Play Store

Spotlight on Lucid users – Australian Museum

amlogo2_smlIn 1827 Australia’s first public museum, the Sydney Museum or Colonial Museum, was established with the initial purpose to procure ‘many rare and curious specimens of Natural History’. Subsequently named the Australian Museum in 1836, today the Museum plays a leading role in taxonomic and systematic research and education and over the years has developed an internationally recognised collection of over 18 million cultural and scientific objects.

A decade ago, as part of its educational role, the Museum started producing a series of Lucid keys for identifying specific groups of insects and reptiles present in New South Wales. Now that these keys can be more easily accessed across the Internet, they have recently been transferred to the Lucid Key Server Player.

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Spotlight on Lucid users – MyCrop Diagnostic keys

Wheat splashWhen Lucid was first developed almost 20 years ago, the main focus was on capturing the expertise of taxonomists to develop Lucid-based, interactive identification tools for a range of different organisms and users. More recently, the range of applications of Lucid has broadened. In particular, agronomists and plant protection experts have been using Lucid to develop diagnostic tools for use by advisors and farmers to help determine the cause of crop disorders and what to do about them.

The MyCrop (https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/mycrop) team within the Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food has developed a series of interactive tools to bring “crop diagnostics to the paddock”.

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