WHAT WE DO
The Specimen Collection
The Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit (WRBU), Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (MRMC), and their predecessors, and the Department of Entomology (ENTO), National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian Institution (SI), have worked together effectively since 1961. During that time the NMNH Mosquito Collection has developed into the largest in the world, comprising over 1.5 million specimens. The WRBU performs collection management activities — maintenance and protection of specimens, handling of transactions including loans, and progress toward improvement of the collection — and provides assistance to SOE personnel, SI Research Associates, visiting scientists, and mosquito researchers in locating and examining specimens contained in the NMNH Mosquito Collection. The WRBU also maintains a molecular entomology laboratory at the MSC for joint use of WRBU and SOE personnel. (more... WRAIR-SI 2016 Memorandum of Understanding ; WRAIR-SI 2016 Memorandum of Agreement )
Ongoing Research Projects
Medically Important Vectors
Current and upcoming projects include: a mosquito genus key of the SOUTHCOM AOR; computer-based identification keys to the Anopheles malaria vectors of the SOUTHCOM AOR, including keys to all Anopheles adult and larval mosquitoes of Central America, and taxonomic revision and key to adult Anopheles subgenus Nyssorhynchus of Central and South America; an illustrated identification guide for the Anopheles mosquitoes (both vectors and non-vectors) in Africa; creation of identification tools for the medically important culicine mosquitoes (non-Anopheles) of Central and South America; creation of web-based identification keys to Anopheles adult female and larval mosquitoes belonging to subgenera Kerteszia and Anopheles of South America; an illustrated identification guide for the medically important sand flies in Southwest Asia; an internet/web-based illustrated identification guide for the Phlebotomine sand flies in Central and South America (SOUTHCOM AOR), with emphasis on medically important species.
VectorMap is an online, geospatially-referenced clearinghouse for vector species observation data and distribution maps. The primary initial use of this site will be to allow interested parties, such as researchers and species collectors, to access a map that displays observation data from a variety of databases as points or country level aggregations, and interrogate these layers to learn more about the individual observations. Additionally, users will have access to supplemental layers representing species richness estimates and predicted species distribution that may be used in identifying potential new collection locations.