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Abstract Detail

Celebrating 15 years of SERNEC: Where we've been, where we are, and where we are going

Murrell, Zack [1], Denslow, Michael [2].

Celebrating 15 years of SERNEC: Where we've been, where we are, and where we are going.

ABSTRACT: SERNEC (SouthEast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections) is a consortium of 233 herbaria in 13 states in the Southeast USA. We organized in 2004 and were supported from 2006-2012 by the National Science Foundation as a Research Coordination Network (NSF RCN #0542320). Over this period of time, we engaged 165 herbaria scientists in workshops and training sessions to mobilize the community and promulgate best practices in biodiversity informatics science. We focused our efforts on building state level structure, by identifying state representatives and then developing a "hub and spoke" model for each state, with smaller collections in each state partnering with the larger or more active collections to increase efficiency of information flow and resource allocation. Most active herbaria have an affiliate community of professional scientists in their institutions and in the surrounding area. These are professional scientists from various fields of study in their home institutions, scientists in state or federal agencies or in corporations, along with amateur botanists, students and teachers. The name for our group, SERNEC: SouthEast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections, highlights the value of both the collections and this broad community of experts associated with the collections. We were funded in 2014 by the NSF ADBC program as a Thematic Collections Network. This project is entitled "Digitization TCN: Collaborative Research: The Key to the Cabinets: Building and sustaining a research database for a global biodiversity hotspot" (NSF Award #1410069). The goal of the SERNEC - TCN project is the development of an imaged and databased set of over 4.5 million specimens from 93 herbaria in the southeastern U.S. In this project we partnered with GEOLocate (, Symbiota (, Notes from Nature (, the Adler Museum (, and the Texas Advanced Computing Center ( to build a data pipeline to gather data from 106 herbaria in the SE USA, expose these data to portals to empower SERNEC to put our community skillset to work using the latest photographing and information capture tools. We utilized the SERNEC scientists to engage citizen scientists and students to assist in transcribing and georeferencing this large dataset. Relevance: This project is supported by the large-scale efforts of the SERNEC community of herbaria, organized by state with each group responsible for different aspects of digitization. This colloquium will outline the overall aspects of the SERNEC - TCN effort. In addition, the project has brought together the six Information Technology partners to build and implement a data pipeline for data capture and storage, large scale label data transcription, collaborative georeferencing, and data repatriation to the state groups and individual herbaria. The goal of the colloquium is to disseminate the findings of our efforts so that others within the herbarium community, as well as other communities of scientists, may be benefit from lessons learned.

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Related Links:

1 - Department Of Biology, Appalachian State University, 572 Rivers Street, Boone, NC, 28608, United States
2 - Appalachian State University, Biology, 572 Rivers Street, Boone, North Carolina, 28608, United States

Southeast USA.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: CO05, Celebrating 15 years of SERNEC:Where we've been, where we are and where we are going
Location: Tucson H/Starr Pass
Date: Tuesday, July 30th, 2019
Time: 8:00 AM
Number: CO05
Abstract ID:31
Candidate for Awards:None

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