Hunting butterflies used to be a fairly popular hobby, and most collectors were very good at finding them! Historical records of the "geospatial presence and absence" of different butterfly species cover large portions of the globe, and in some cases multiple centuries. In the past, researchers had to go through museums and field guides to get at this information (which would be scattered, if it was preserved at all). Recently, dedicated butterfly monitoring programs supported by citizen scientists have achieved huge increases in data influx the only thing that's missing is a unified system of information organization.

Species distribution information is the foundation of most biodiversity research. We plan on combining the disparate sources of species occurrence data described above with modern environmental modeling techniques to produce a "Map of Butterflies," a record of previous and current species distributions supported by ongoing observations from the butterfly enthusiast community. As part of this work, we are using data and infrastructure from the Map of Life to develop maps and methods of characterizing the geographical distribution of butterfly species worldwide.

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