Bar-coded bugs

Bar-coded bugs

Scanning insects for clues to our changing world
December 1, 2002

The University of Manitoba's J.B. Wallis Museum of Entomology, houses Canada's third largest collection of insect specimens. The collection is a resource for scientists studying climate-change, biodiversity and habitat change, including agriculture.

Curators at the museum are now busy cataloguing their collection using a bar code system similar to those in grocery stores. The database is accessed through a piece of software called Biota. Researchers will keep track of each specimen's relevant information, allowing for electronic sorting by species, locality, and date collected.

Museum professor of entomology Rob Roughley, says the creation of this new research tool offers Canadian researchers a contribution to and access to other entomology databases around the world.