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Abstract Detail

Biodiversity Informatics & Herbarium Digitization

MONFILS, ANNA K [1], Thiers, Barbara [2].

Extending U.S. Biodiversity Collections to Address National Challenges.

A workshop held 30 October - 1 November 2018 at Oak Spring Garden in Upperville, VA under the leadership of the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) addressed the future deployment of data held in U.S. biodiversity collections for research, policy and education. In their discussions, participants drew heavily on recent literature as well as surveys, meetings and workshops held over the past year with the stakeholder community of collections professionals, researchers, and educators.
Arising from these deliberations is a consensus to focus future biodiversity documentation on building a network of extended specimens that represent the depth and breadth of biodiversity held in U.S. collections institutions. The extended specimen will consist of the physical voucher and any preparations (e.g. tissue samples); digitized representations such as occurrence records and images; derivative products such as gene sequences or metagenomes; and taxon- or locality-specific data such as observations, phylogenies or species distributions. We will extend existing specimens w by data linkage through unique identifiers, taxon name and location. New collections, needed now more than ever to inform solutions to societal problems, should be “born-extended”, i.e., accessioned with a full suite of supplemental data.
Collectively, these extended specimens will form a network of linked data to enable exploration across taxonomic, temporal and spatial scales. Such exploration will help us understand the rules that govern how organisms grow, diversify and interact with one another, and how environmental change and human activities may affect those rules. As a resource for formal and informal education (including citizen science), the extended specimen network will afford scalable learning opportunities for K-Life in data literacy as well as biological science and the humanities.
To create this resource will require continued specimen digitization, new collections, standardization of existing digital data to facilitate discovery, and implementation of a robust specimen identifier tracking system. It will also require new approaches to data sharing and collaboration, partnerships with national and international data providers, computer and data scientists and educators.
This initiative requires episodic funding for collection of new specimens as well as for digitization and curation of existing resources. It requires long term funding for a central organizing unit with responsibility for community coordination, education, mobilization, and maintenance of the central data repository and the network infrastructure. Representatives of the central organizing unit, collections institutions, and professional societies should oversee the implementation of the agenda.

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Related Links:
BCoN Report: Extending U.S. Biodiversity Collections to Promote Research and Education

1 - Central Michigan University, Biology, 2401 Biosciences, Mount Pleasant, MI, 48859, United States
2 - The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY, 10458, United States

natural history collections
Herbarium Specimens
extended specimen network.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: BIHD1, Biodiversity Informatics & Herbarium Digitization
Location: Tucson I/Starr Pass
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2019
Time: 4:00 PM
Number: BIHD1010
Abstract ID:698
Candidate for Awards:None

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