RE: [beemonitoring] Immortal identification guides to the genera of Eastern North America bees [1 Attachment]
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Developing these types of guides are important and provide a valuable alternative to keys. You suggest that people can make guides to fit their needs, it reminds me of the direction that programs like SEINet are going where users can develop guides and checklists by just opening Google Map and clicking on a point or drawing a box around an area. Granted these are done with plants, which are much more exhaustively known, but they can be done with certain groups of bees. So it is possible to make these resources available to people online and scalable to their area of interest.
[Attachment(s) from Sam Droege included below]
Dictated using Dragon software, so watch for strange word swaps!
The BIML lab sees a need for an identification product that falls between a field guide for bees, which is problematic since bees largely can't be identified in the field, and detailed technical keys, where general patterns are lost amidst a sea of details. To that end we have mocked up an identification guide for the genus Andrena. Our goal here is to document the core identification elements for the genus as well as cover some of the important identification features that help identify things to species. The first page is essentially a summary page and what will follows are pages of species shots with arrows pointing out important identification features. Over time these picture pages for each genus will grow as we add species and create more examples of how features vary across the genus.
The general idea is that we will produce a core of information on identification but that the original PowerPoint files can be taken and modified by you, the community as a whole, to meet whatever your needs are. the raw guide can be printed out, can be added to, can be published in any form, all the included pictures and text are copyright free, and we are happy to make available the original graphics for further modification and will also make the PowerPoint slides available to for easy modification. In that way, for example, people could add information about the life history along with a bibliography of literature things that we are unlikely to ever do here at the lab because it would decrease our bees per minute. These guides would be continuously updated as new information came in and at some point may even include information on each of the species. However for now the idea is to create over this coming summer and fall a series of genus level guides that people can save to their computer or print out to help them with the identification of their material and as a tool to help learn how to identify bees quickly to genus.
So below is an example using the genus Andrena. The wording is fairly accurate, at least from our point of view, right now for the first page. For the pictures we have added a series of placeholders to show you some of the layouts and text features we currently plan to use. What we would like to see is some feedback. We are interested in everything from what the content might be to issues regarding graphics, fonts, layout, and formats.
We will be out in the field the next few weeks but starting in early July we will begin to work on producing these guides and as each is created we will make it available on the web.
As always, thanks for your help.
PS. I want to point out all the hard work are technicians have done in terms of creating pictures, layouts, and getting us up to the stage where we can produce this type of work. Thanks to Sue Boo, Brooke Alexander, Sierra Williams, and Heagan Ahmed.
Sam Droege sdroege@...
w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705
How hard it is to hide the sparks of nature!
-Shakespeare - Cymberline
Attachment(s) from Sam Droege
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