Page 1 - McGuireCenterNewsletter2013

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From the Editor:
Andrei Sourakov ________________________________
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A newsletter of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity
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Florida Museum of Natural History
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April 2013
IN THIS ISSUE:
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Impact Stories
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Staff News
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Student News
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Publications
Nearly a decade ago, the McGuire Center for
Lepidoptera and Biodiversity was built on the UF
campus. It seems that only yesterday we were putting
the final touches on the “Wall of Wings” in anticipation
of the “official” opening in August 2004. By that
evening, the titanic labor of moving the collections
into their new home was nearly finished, but much
work remained in merging dozens of separate
collections into a single, coherent system, organized
taxonomically. The approximately 25,000 drawers of
Lepidoptera that we moved carefully from the Allyn
Museum of Entomology in Sarasota, Florida State
Collection of Arthropods and the University of Florida
were now housed under one roof. The vastness of new
rooms designed to house three times as many drawers
promised at least 50 years of growth unhindered by the
lack of space. That day, only native Florida butterflies
were flying in the Butterfly Rainforest, and there were
only a dozen staff and students working at the center,
with the lab spaces viewed from the public area of the
Museum mostly unstaffed.
Today, one can hardly find room in the collection
compactors on any of the three floors of the Center.
All that space that looked so empty and vast in 2004
has been filled with incoming collections. Hundreds
of amateur and professional lepidopterists chose the
McGuire Center as the facility where their labor of
love and, frequently, their life’s work, would be stored
in perpetuity and used by the researchers. Recently,
thanks to external funding, 21,000 new drawers have
been purchased for curation to accommodate this
growth.
One of the most popular museum exhibits in
Florida, the Butterfly Rainforest has seen more than
100,000 visitors a year. The exhibit has a continuous
population of up to 1,500 butterflies from 60-80
species at any given time, with more than 150 species
from four continents displayed since it opened. The
butterflies are accompanied by a variety of birds, from
small finches to large toucanettes.
More than 50 staff, students and technicians now
work at the Center, accompanied by many volunteers
from the ranks of UF students and local community
members. Research at the Center has led to more
than 400 scientific Lepidoptera publications, and
our staff currently produces three scientific journals:
Allyn Bulletin of Entomology, Tropical Lepidoptera
Research
and
Lepidoptera Novae
. Many more valuable
contributions to science have occurred as a result of
visiting researchers from around the world utilizing
the collections. We are currently planning the 2013
annual meeting of the 2,000-member international
Lepidopterists’ Society. The 2006 meeting held in
Gainesville attracted more than 200 people from every
state and 20 countries, and attendance is expected to
increase for this year’s meeting. The Center has trained
many students who graduated with their Master’s or
Doctorate degree and are now employed as professors,
educators or applied scientists around the world, from
China to the Caribbean.
This newsletter highlights the McGuire Center’s
worldwide impact. In today’s economic environment
and the increasing challenge in obtaining public
funding, I hope readers will find the six articles on
these pages convincing evidence of the difference the
McGuire Center has made to academic and public
audiences.
Callicore excelsior pastazza
, Ecuador
Catasticta chelidonis
, Ecuador
Ornithoptera victoria
, Solomon Islands
IMPACT