Building a High-Resolution, Specimen-Based Picture of Life: Possibilities and Challenges
Thiers, Barbara M. .
The Macrofungi Collection Consortium(MaCC): Unlocking a Biodiversity Resource for Understanding Biotic Interactions, Nutrient Cycling and Human Affairs.
Mushrooms and related fungi (macrofungi) play a critical role in the lives of plants and animals, including humans. Scientists in the U.S. have been studying macrofungi for the past 150 years, resulting in a legacy of approximately 1.4 million dried scientific specimens conserved in 35 herbaria in 24 states. These institutions have now joined in an effort to digitize and share on line all data associated with macrofungi specimens. These data include collection information, photographs and field notes based on the specimen in the living condition, and selected photographs of dried specimens. Participating institutions will create images of their holdings. Creation of specimen records, using OCR, data matching techniques and manual transcription, will take place at a centralized record creation center, located at The New York Botanical Garden. Complete or mostly complete records will be made available through the newly created Mycology Collections portal, which uses the Symbiota software. A crowd sourcing application, to be developed by Vizzuality, will enable any interested parties to propose corrections or additions to the data. All records will be contributed to iDigBio's national data repository, and participating institutions retain full rights to use other copies of their data in any way they choose. The resulting resource will enable a national census of macrofungi, a "Mycota of North America," which has never before attempted, and will allow researchers to better understand the relationship between macrofungi and the organisms with which they form intimate relationships.Organized into clubs across the country, citizen mycologists play a critical role in documenting macrofungal diversity, and these well-informed individuals are the conduit between professional scientists and the general public for critical information about wild edible and poisonous fungi. Citizen mycologists will join the collections institutions in this project to help to create the on-line resource by completing and supplementing specimen records. Through workshops, they will learn to use on-line publishing features of Symbiota so that they can create and publish their own projects through Mycology Collections Portal. The project will also fund two workshops for high school teachers to promote classroom study of fungi. University students, who will comprise about 80% of the digitization workforce, will gain work experience in digitization and formal training about fungi, and student workers will have the opportunity to share the knowledge they gain from the project through oral and video presentations.
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Mycology Collections Portal
1 - The New York Botanical Garden, William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY, 10458-5126, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Franklin A/Hyatt
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Time: 3:00 PM