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Natural history collections are of utmost importance to society, serving not only as repositories of scientific and historical data but also as archives of cultural and natural heritage. Since 2013, I have been affiliated with two major entomological collections - the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology and the ETH Entomological Collection - and have conducted research using preserved and living collections around the world.

Melissa Whitaker

At Switzerland's federal entomological collection, I manage ongoing efforts to digitize specimens using a customized workflow developed at the Harvard MCZ and optimized at ETH.  In 2019, we finished a project to fully digitize over 150,000 Palearctic Lepidoptera specimens, and with support of the ETH Library & Archives we are now working to digitize our large Hymenoptera collection. 


This photo was taken by Fabienne Meier, a student employee of the ETH Zurich Entomological Collection, as part of her entry in the Swiss National Science Foundation’s annual Scientific Image Competition. Ms. Meier received an award in the category Women and Men of Science. Read more here.

One of the many perks of doing a postdoc at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology was the historical connection to Vladimir Nabokov, one of my favorite writers. In this photo I am sitting at his old desk, with a photo of him (sitting at the same desk) hanging just behind me.

Photo credit: Rod Eastwood

Melissa Whitaker Harvard
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