From 20-23 October, the Natural History Museum is taking part in the global WeDigBio event, which is all about digitising natural history collections around the world.
It will be a great opportunity to meet other natural history enthusiasts face-to-face (check out the event listing to find one near you, even if it isn’t here at the Museum), or engage with other volunteers online who will be helping us to transcribe specimen information, to set the data free!
Although our own hands-on Visiteering session during the WeDigBio event is now fully booked, you are welcome to register for the rest of our Visiteering scheme at any time.
The collection that we are profiling as part of WeDigBio focuses on a group of wasps called chalcids (pronounced ‘kal-sids’).
These tiny wasps are parasitoids, meaning they lay their eggs inside other insects. When chalcid eggs hatch the emerging larvae eat the their host from within. They then grow and pupate until mature enough to burst out as adults, finally killing the host.
These tiny creatures play a very important role as biological control agents – they are the natural enemy of a wide range of insect pests that damage our food crops, thus reducing the need for chemicals and pesticides, and saving a significant amount of money as well.
We have imaged 100,000 microscope slides of these tiny insects, barely visible to the naked eye. Now we need your help to transcribe information from the specimen labels so that the data can be used for scientific research.
This Miniature Lives Magnified project is part of our mission to mobilise the world’s natural history collections, and digitise the 80 million specimens we hold in our own collection at the Museum. We want to make the information the specimens contain about the natural world more openly available to scientists and the public – and you can help make this happen!
How to take part
- Visit Miniature Lives Magnified on the Notes from Nature website.
- (Optional) Register as a member of Zooniverse.
- Follow the instructions to transcribe the data from our microscope slides.
- Follow the team on Twitter at @NHM_Digitise and join the #WeDigBio conversation, and join the WeDigBio community on Facebook.