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Award Abstract #1258154

ARTS: Systematics of the darkling beetle genus Eleodes: Integrating morphology, DNA, and biodiversity informatics to resolve a taxonomically impeded genus

NSF Org: DEB
Division Of Environmental Biology
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Initial Amendment Date: March 11, 2013
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Latest Amendment Date: February 4, 2014
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Award Number: 1258154
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Award Instrument: Continuing grant
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Program Manager: David Mindell
DEB Division Of Environmental Biology
BIO Direct For Biological Sciences
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Start Date: April 1, 2013
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End Date: April 30, 2015 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $458,103.00
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Investigator(s): Aaron Smith pimeliinae@gmail.com (Principal Investigator)
Nico Franz (Co-Principal Investigator)
Quentin Wheeler (Former Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: Arizona State University
ORSPA
TEMPE, AZ 85281-6011 (480)965-5479
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NSF Program(s): Biodiversity: Discov &Analysis
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Program Reference Code(s): 7375, 9169, EGCH
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Program Element Code(s): 1198

ABSTRACT

Eleodes is a flightless genus of darkling beetles (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) endemic to western North America. Commonly called stink beetles, Eleodes are known for their "headstanding" behavior and the noxious chemicals they eject when threatened. This project will open the genus to other disciplines by addressing century-old systematic challenges through a comprehensive phylogenetic research strategy and an innovative, content management system-based data accumulation approach. It will create a virtual specimen-based knowledge environment for Eleodes taxonomy, morphology, and natural history linking specimens, images, and reference works to associated taxonomic, phylogenetic, ontologically annotated anatomical and geographic data.

This project will strongly advance our understanding of Eleodes and tenebrionid systematics through focused training of a postdoctoral scholar, a Ph.D. student, and minimally 8-12 undergraduate students. Virtually all data generated will be available through the project web portal and secondarily uploaded to EOL and Morphbank. The scientific community and general public will be engaged through a synergistic extension of Eleodes specimen data and images to the "Southwest Collections of Arthropods Network" (SCAN), the creation of a biodiversity informatics lab module, and by incorporating Eleodes biology and diversity themes into ASU's outreach program, including the development of learning applications and implementation of school and museum activities.

 

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