Abstract Detail

Biodiversity Research Collecting Is More Important Than Ever—Ushering in a Collecting Renaissance

Thiers, Barbara [1].

Adjusting Collecting Practices to Create “Born Extended” Specimens.

The ways that herbarium specimens are used for research have increased in the past two decades.  In addition to revealing morphological features, dried plant specimens now yield data about gene sequences, secondary metabolites, atmospheric pollutants, pathogens, predators and symbionts.  We use aggregates of specimens, or their virtual representations, for studies of trends phenology, pollination and insect feeding, species distribution modelling and automated identification using machine learning.  There is every reason to think new uses will continue to emerge.  Use of herbarium specimens or digital derivatives often results in the creation of derivative data sets that are dissociated from the original specimen, e.g., separate pollen or wood collections, gene sequences in GenBank, etc.  If we can develop a system of robust links between each specimen and its potentially limitless derivatives or extensions, we will have created a vast Extended Specimen Network (ESN).  Such a network would be a powerful tool for a user community far beyond the current users of specimen databases and will also be ideally suited to educating the next generation of data and biodiversity scientists.  An ESN would also allow collections to keep track of how their specimens are used, creating a metric for demonstrating the use and therefore value of the collection, and facilitating compliance with benefit sharing agreements with collaborating institutions.  The difficulties of retroactively linking specimens with their extensions are significant and may never be accomplished completely. However, as we enter a new period of increased collecting, as many have said we should, we must agree on protocols and standards for newly collected specimens so that their derivative data and samples are tracked from their origin.  To make this possible, we will need a unified approach to identifiers for specimens and their subunits, and we will need change our approach to data sharing.   One solution might be some type of new collection registry service into which field data are entered upon collection that would not only allow for standardization and assignment of identifiers, but would also make it possible to know who is collecting where and when, which could avoid duplication of effort and possibly sharing of collected data, especially useful for associated organisms such as insects and fungi.

1 - The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY, 10458, United States

biodiversity specimens.

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY2, Biodiversity Research Collecting Is More Important Than Ever—Ushering in a Collecting Renaissance
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2020
Time: 10:30 AM
Number: SY2002
Abstract ID:368
Candidate for Awards:None

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