AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- The University of Maine has donated its extensive insect collection to the Maine State Archives. The collection serves as a baseline of Maine's natural history and will enable scientists to study such phenomenon as climate change.
The Department of Conservation calls the collection "priceless and irreplaceable." It will use the collection to help determine if a species is invasive. State Entomologist Charlene Donahue says the collection will be used by "researchers and people like me who are boots on the ground looking for answers with problems with insects we have today and you start with what was here in the past."
Dr. Paula T. Work who is Curator of Zoology at the Maine State Museum says the collection is very important, "We cannot go back in time, you and I, but if something happened a hundred years ago and someone was smart enough to collect those insects, we can go back to those drawers now and we can say, 'What happened, was it fire? Was it pollution and those insects will tell us about it.'"
The collection totals more than 107,000 insects in 500 drawers. They will be kept in a climate controlled facility and be made available to researchers. The Maine Etymology Club has volunteered to help classify the collection.