Many herbaria in the world are represented by curators and research communities that are very familiar with the character and content of their collections, but very few of these have access to accurate numbers and specimen inventories. Digitization funding is a game changer that will provide us with the means to better preserve the collections we hold in public trust. A digitized specimen is a tool that allows access to scientific vouchers and observations that span hundreds of years – an essential component to research that deals with past environmental change and future models.
The Philecology Herbarium at the Botanical Research Institute is one of 36 herbaria and museums throughout the U.S. representing the Pteridopytes Collections Consortium TCN, a three-year project funded through the National Science Foundation’s Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections (ADBC) program (grant number 1802270). The project's goal is to digitize and web-mobilize over 1.6 million extant and fossil pteridophytes (more here: https://pteridophytes.berkeley.edu/). Participating in this grant has allowed us to liberate our fern and lycophytes specimens and share them digitally with you! For appointments to visit the collection for research, please email: email@example.com.
Access the specimens digitized by the Pteridophytes Collections Consortium here: http://www.pteridoportal.org/portal/
Join the effort as a citizen scientist: Notes from Nature (US SE Biodiversity) --> Dr. T's Ferntastic Collection.
Our Fern Team at BRIT is led by Dr. Alejandra Vasco, who has marshaled the effort to produce an exhibit about the ca. 37,300 ferns and lycophytes in the BRIT Philecology Herbarium. You can download a PDF of the exhibit in English and Spanish here, and take a closer look at two featured specimens further into this article.
The physical exhibit created by Alejandra Vasco, Jessica Lane, Ashley Bordelon, and Tiana Rehman can be viewed for the next two months in the Upper Atrium Research Gallery at BRIT on a guided or self-guided tour. Please check the BRIT Hours and Location to confirm when the building is open and Tours at BRIT for free scheduled tours of the institution.
This post is part of our "Cabinet Curiosities” series that explores significant items from the Herbarium collection. Posts are written by staff, volunteers, and interns. Read more from the series here.