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Project Description (From main project site)
In 2012, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County launched a new research initiative: NHM Biodiversity Science: City and Nature (NHM BioSCAN). This first-of-its-kind scientific investigation will discover and explore biodiversity in and around one of the world’s largest cities: Los Angeles. In three years of sampling from the urban core right out through less-urban surrounding areas, we will focus on the insects, the most diverse group of animals on our planet.
We will discover and document the diversity of insect species living with us in Los Angeles as well as test intriguing hypotheses about how natural areas around the city affect its biodiversity, and specifically, how light in the urban environment is affecting its inhabitants. NHM BioSCAN will take full advantage of our Museum base by directly engaging the public in the discovery and exploration of their home city.

Insect sorting procedure.

Trap designs from LA Makerspace

Global light pollution data taken from the GLOBE At Night 2012 survey.
Comparison of light pollution levels with the number of insect species found per country.
Results of this background research: InsectSpeciesSurvey.xlsx

October 2013 results for comparing the density of insect species by country with a number of different economic, environmental, and demographic variables.
Variable compared with species density
Function
Correlation coefficient
units of x
Average value of x for LA
Predicted density of insects (km^-2)
Light Pollution
y=-0.8184x + 4.5091
0.78577
Magnitude
2.75
2.26
Urban Land Cover
y = 10.589x^1.2628
.33705
Fraction
0.354
2.85
Population Density
y=0.0002x^1.3367
.32838
People per sq kilometer
4743.2
16.40
% Arable Land
y = 0.0008x^2 - 0.062x + 1.307
.05223
% Arable land
.04
1.30
GDP PPP per capita
y = -6E-05x + 2.4408
.19074
Dollars
26148
0.87192
PM10
y = -0.0032x + 0.5885
.00443
PM10 micro grams per cubic meter
105
.253
PM2.5
y = 5E-07x3.2715
.26415

PM2.5 micro grams per cubic meter
20
0.00902173


Background research papers on trapping insects. Results are summarized here.