Rothamsted Research

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The Rothamsted Insect Survey

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The Rothamsted Insect Survey

The Rothamsted Insect Survey comprises 2 national trap networks which provide the most extensive long-term standardised data on terrestrial invertebrates in the world. It has 3 major components: 1) trap networks 2) the sample archive 3) the database The data are used in a wide range of fundamental and applied studies and have led to numerous high impact and high profile publications. The networks comprise 11 suction traps and 83 light traps. Suction traps are emptied weekly in winter but daily at other times. Samples are sent to Rothamsted where aphids are identified to species, species group or genus. Light traps are emptied daily throughout the year and all the macrolepidoptera identified. Samples from 64 of the sites are processed by trap operators or amateurs with proven taxonomic skills. Identification of samples from the remaining traps is outsourced. A SQL database for the data from both trap networks is being developed and will facilitate easier access to the data for ourselves and external users. Data is being made available for use in fundamental and applied projects to, for example: -observe, model and predict population dynamics in relation to environmental factors -observe and model population genetics and predict the spread of genotypes in relation to environmental and management factors -understand the roles that migration and dispersal play in the population dynamics of economically-important pest insects and their natural enemies -provide data to test ecological hypotheses -detect insecticide resistance mechanisms and predict their geographical spread -understand the epidemiology of insect-borne plant, animal and human viruses -provide information of immediate benefit to crop growers in relation to pest management -examine changes in biodiversity over long time periods and large areas -understand and predict the impacts of climatic and other environmental changes on the above. In 2014 the Rothamsted Insect Survey commemorates 50 years of continuous operation.

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