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Australia-National-Insect-Collection-virtual-tour

Transcript

CSIRO ANIC Tour 2020  


[Music plays and an image appears of a tray of black and blue butterflies and the CSIRO logo and text appears: Australian National Insect Collection, National Research Collections Australia]

[Camera pans over a tray of black and blue butterflies]

Dr Olivia Evangelista: Welcome to ANIC, the Australian National Insect Collection. 

[Image changes to show Dr Olivia Evangelista standing next to Dr David Yeates while talking to the camera and text appears: Dr Olivia Evangelista, Dr David Yeates]

We are located in Canberra at Australia’s National Science Agency. 

[Image changes and the camera pans over a tray of beetles and then the image changes to show a hand opening a drawer of pinned insects]

We manage over 22,000 drawers of pinned insects in our collection. 

[Images changes to show a male carrying a tray of pinned insects back to the compactus and then the image changes to show a side view of a male looking at trays of pinned insects]

Our material is curated, identified, digitised, studied, and photographed to create an outstanding research infrastructure. 

[Image changes to show Dr Evangelista standing next to Dr Yeates while talking to the camera]

This is ANIC’s director, Dr David Yeates.

[Image changes to show Dr Yeates standing next to Dr Evangelista while talking to the camera and then the camera zooms in on a beetle and text appears: First insect collected by Charles Darwin]

Dr David Yeates: Thank you very much Olivia. With over 12 million specimens, we are by far the largest collection of Australian insects on the planet, and our very first insects were collected by Charles Darwin in 1836.

[Image changes to show a side view of Dr Yeates talking to the camera and then the image changes to show two females and a male on a hillside collecting insects in nets]

ANIC’s purpose is to discover and characterise Australia’s unique insect biodiversity so that it can be conserved, managed, and used for the benefit of our people, industry, and environment in a changing world. 

[Image changes to show a side view of Dr Yeates talking to the camera and then the image changes to show a hand opening a drawer of pinned butterflies]

We have around 22,000 primary types in the collection which represents nearly a third of all described Australian species. 

[Image changes to show a close view of a tray of butterflies and then the image changes to show two females in discussion with Dr Evangelista while opening multiple drawers of pinned butterflies]

ANIC was recognised as part of Australia’s national heritage in 1962 and we have two staff from the Department of Agriculture here in Canberra who work identifying insect species for biosecurity and providing biosecurity policy advice.
[Image changes to show a side view of Dr Yeates talking to the camera]

ANIC has strong engagement with international visiting programmes such as the Fulbright Fellowships and Master Fellows that the CSIRO administers. 

[Image changes to show Dr Adam Slipinski sitting in a library holding the Australian Beetles book while talking to the camera and text appears: Dr Adam Slipinski]

Dr Adam Slipinski: When I came to Australia I was wondering what I can do in my new country to make a difference. 

[Image changes to show a close view of Dr Slipinski flicking through pages of the Australian Beetles book] 

And one of those things that I could do was actually to make the beetle in Australia more accessible to other scientists, students, and the general public.

[Image continues to show Dr Slipinski flicking through pages of the Australian Beetles book]

ANIC has got a very long tradition of beetle research. Australia has been actually providing a world leadership in the phylogeny of beetles and also providing a lot of support for the researchers worldwide. We know there is about 40,000 described species of beetles in Australia but there is probably another 40,000 if not more, depending on how many beetles are there to be described.

[Image changes to show a side view of a male working in a laboratory]

Dr David Yeates: We have two major initiatives currently underway in the collection. 

[Image changes to show a close view of a machine working in a laboratory]

The first is around collection genomics, generating genomic scale, molecular data from specimens in the collection. 

[Images move through to show insects ready to be photographed, a female working, a female pinning an insect onto a foam pad, a female working at a computer, and a close view of an insect]

And also digitising the collection, so creating digital images of every specimen in the collection, and digital database records of every specimen in the collection.

[Image changes to show Dr Evangelista talking to the camera while standing next to Dr Marianne Horak and Dr Ted Edwards and text appears: Dr Marianne Horak, Dr Ted Edwards]

Dr Olivia Evangelista: Here is an outstanding example of the crossover between art and science. I’m here with extraordinary artist, eX De Medici, and she’s going to explain to us her inspiration. 

[Camera pans over two pieces of art work of different insects by eX De Medici and text appears: eX De Medici, Holy Human Angel, 2008, Artwork by eX De Medici]

eX De Medici: When I first arrived here to work, to produce work within this collection room, Ted Edwards and Marianne Horak basically gave me a crash course education on lepidoptera. 

[Image changes to show a close view of a moth and then the image changes and the camera pans over a piece of eX De Medici artwork]

So, the very first pieces I worked on were pieces they selected for me. 

[Camera pans over a piece of eX De Medici artwork and then the image changes to show a female flicking through the pages of a book]

I knew nothing about how representation operated in terms of scientific representation, which is not what I do.

[Image changes to show a close view of a piece of eX De Medici artwork and text appears: eX De Medici, Obey, 2003]

It is somewhere in between. 

[Image changes to show a close view of a piece of eX De Medici artwork and text appears: eX De Medici, Pure Impulse Control, 2008]

There’s some sort of, it has artistic license as well as an observation of characteristics. 

[Image changes to show a close view of a piece of eX De Medici artwork and text appears:  Spy (Tehran/Qom), 2012 eX De Medici]

But their guidance for me for many, many years has been invaluable.

[Image changes to show Dr Evangelista talking to the camera while standing next to Dr Federica Turco]

Dr Olivia Evangelista: And here we are with Dr Federica Turco, and she’s our Collections Manager. 

[Image changes to show Dr Turco talking to the camera and text appears: Dr Federica Turco]

Dr Federica Turco:  At the moment we’re still growing our collection. We estimate roughly 1% of the collection per year. 

[Images move through to show Dr Turco talking to the camera, a close view of the Donated by Dr Marianne Horak 2009 plaque, and then the camera pans over trays of different insects]

This growth is mainly due to original new collections that we do in the field but also to the nations, in particular in this hall, in the lepidoptera area and in the coleoptera area. 

[Images move through to show a tray of different insects, a close view of a pinned insect, and then a rear view of a female looking at a computer screen of butterflies]

The Australian National Insect Collection is not a museum, so we don’t have a public exhibition space but we collaborate with National Museums here in Canberra. 

[Image changes to show a side view of a researcher holding up a sample container and then the image changes to show Dr Turco talking to the camera]

We are primarily a research collection. So we will be moving into a purpose built new facility in a few years.

[Image changes to show Dr Evangelista talking to the camera]

Dr Olivia Evangelista: Every year we describe over 200 species of insects and that includes charismatic flies, weevils, and also insects preserved in amber. 

[Image changes to show a photograph of a fly next to a photograph of Stan Lee and then the image changes to show a photograph of a fly next to a photograph of the Marvel Character]

This year we named five new robber fly species after Stan Lee in the Marvel Character. 


[Image changes to show Dr Evangelista talking to the camera while standing next to compactus] 

The inner collection is stored in three main halls. This is one of them, the compactus hall. Come with me. 

[Image changes to show Dr Evangelista talking to the camera while standing in front of Dr Bryan Lessard looking in a drawer of the compactus]

We are studying species that could threaten Australia’s biosecurity. And we’re also unravelling the diversity of mosquitoes in Australia. 

[Image changes to show Dr Evangelista turning to talk to Dr Lessard in the compactus]

Would you like to show us something Bryan?

[Image shows Dr Lessard standing by an open drawer in the compactus talking to Dr Evangelista and text appears: Dr Bryan Lessard]

Dr Bryan Lessard: Hi. Here are some of the mosquitos we have in our collection. 

[Image changes to show a side view of Dr Lessard opening and looking closely at a drawer of insects]

There are 400 species endemic to Australia but only half of them have formal scientific names. 

[Image changes to show a close view of a tray of pinned insects and then the image changes to show Dr Lessard standing by an open drawer of insects talking to Dr Evangelista]

So, I’m working with that collection to name new species so they can be used by surveillance officers from separating endemic species to pest species you want to keep out of the country.

[Image changes to show Dr Evangelista talking to the camera and then turning and then entering an office to talk to Dr Juanita Rodriguez]

Dr Olivia Evangelista: So we are also using our collection to discover new products from nature. 

[Image changes to show a side view of Dr Rodriguez sitting at a desk talking to the camera and text appears: Dr Juanita Rodriguez]

Dr Juanita Rodriguez: Spider wasps are very interesting because they are a group that has not been studied very well in Australia, so there’s a lot of new species that we need to discover. 

[Image changes to show a close view of a trays of pinned insects]

And it’s not only the diversity of species that we’re looking at, we’re also looking at the diversity of venoms that they produce. 

[Image changes to show a side view of Dr Rodriguez sitting at a desk talking to the camera]

So spider wasp venom is a cocktail of hundreds of molecules and some of them have been found to have an effect in sodium channels that are involved in neuronal function. Because of this effect we think that they may be useful to treat conditions like Alzheimer’s and epilepsy or Parkinson’s.

[Image changes and the camera pans over a close view of a tray of insects]

Dr Olivia Evangelista: Each insect specimen is a unique source of biological information. 

[Image changes and the camera pans over a tray of beetles]

Each one is a snapshot of space, time, and genetic heritage. 

[Image changes to show a side view of a male working at a computer in a laboratory]

Our collection is a permanent resource for research. 

[Image changes to show a rear view of a male doing tests in a laboratory]

And it’s available, not only for the Australian community, but also for scientists all around the world who are helping us quantify our insect fauna and also preserve our critically endangered species.

[Image changes to show Dr Evangelista sitting next to a tray of insects while talking to the camera]

We continuously go to the field and survey insects in certain targeted areas if we have a specific research purpose. But we also continuously set traps, or survey areas that are close to us. So, many of the parks and national areas in New South Wales that actually were severely impacted by the bushfires were also areas that we had continuous malaise trap records for over the course of one or two years. 

[Image changes to show a plate of dead bugs floating in water, and the camera zooms in and then out and then the image changes to show a photograph of vegetation]

We can use that information to monitor the recovery of these areas and compare what we have moving forward, how this community is re-established, against how they looked right before the fires took place. 

[Image changes to show a tray of beetles and then the image changes to show a machine working in a laboratory]

Twenty years ago we had no idea that we would be able to sequence degraded DNA from old specimens so effectively.

[Image shows a machine working in a laboratory and then the image changes to show a male standing on a hillside collecting insects in a net]

Today new technologies allow us to retrieve large amounts of genomic data from our museum material. 

[Camera pans over illustrations of different insects and text appears: Frank Nanninga’s insect illustrations (from the book Insects of Australia)]

We are using this information to find new products in nature, understand insect declines, and study insect pollination networks. 

[Image changes to show bugs floating in a container of water and then the image changes to show a rear view of Dr Evangelista working in an office and putting an insect under a microscope]

Much of this work is being delivered through the Environomics Future Science Platform at CSIRO. 

[Image changes to show a person removing some insects from an insect tray and then the image changes to show a white screen and text appears: www.csiro.au, Follow us on Twitter #CSIROcollections]

And through these innovative approaches and the work we do here at the collections, we hope to contribute to a better understanding of our biodiversity, and a more sustainable future.

[Music plays and image changes to show a white screen with the CSIRO logo and text: CSIRO, Australia’s National Science Agency]

  

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