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A digital reference collection for aquatic macroinvertebrates of North America

September 13, 2017

Aquatic invertebrates are a key component of freshwater ecosystems, and understanding aquatic invertebrate taxonomy is a cornerstone of freshwater science. Physical reference collections of expertly identified voucher specimens are the ‘gold-standard’ used to confirm specimen identifications. However, most biologists lack access to such collections, which themselves tend to be highly regionalized and somewhat limited in terms of taxonomic scope. The North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC; was developed by the US Geological Survey (USGS) to overcome these limitations of physical collections. NAAMDRC provides users with public-domain, high-quality digital photographs to help verify specimen identifications.