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Abstract Detail


Building a High-Resolution, Specimen-Based Picture of Life: Possibilities and Challenges

Sweeney, Patrick [1], Barrington, David [2], Davis, Charles [3], Donoghue, Michael [4], Edwards, Erika [5], Foster, David [6], Morris, Paul [7], Neefus, Chris [8], Primack, Richard [9], Searcy, Karen [10], Starly, Binil [11], Sullivan, Janet [12].

Mobilizing New England Vascular Plant Specimen Data to Track Environmental Changes.

Herbarium specimens provide a source of historical information useful to the study of global environmental change. The main goal of this TCN is to provide data to support the study of the consequences of climate change and land use history in the New England region over the last three centuries. This will be achieved by digitizing and online sharing of almost 1.3 million New England vascular plant specimens from 15 large to small herbaria located across the region. The project will be structured as a hub and spokes, with larger institutions serving as resources and/or digitization centers for the smaller collections. At the digitizing centers, the digitization workflow will be carried out in three main stages. The first stage will focus on capturing specimen data that reflects the physical storage structure of the collection. The second stage will focus on capturing an image of each specimen and will use voice-recognition technology to capture specimen-level data. To increase the efficiency of capturing an image and specimen-level data we will develop a mobile industrial-scale, high throughput digitization apparatus, which will move between digitizing institutions. The final stage of digitization will enhance the images and herbarium label data by generating geographic coordinates and phenological and habitat data from images of specimens and labels. We will develop controlled vocabularies for phenology and habitat that are each designed in relation to research questions focusing on climate change and land-use history, respectively.All resulting data and images will be freely available on-line, primarily through the Consortium of Northeastern Herbaria (CNH) portal, which utilizes Symbiota. Morphbank will provide another access point for the specimen images for the community. Additionally, we will connect the CNH portal to an instance of a FilteredPush network to promote annotation of specimen records and their images by other knowledgeable users.The digitization technologies and methodologies developed as part of this project will provide a model for other endeavors around the nation. This project provides training, research, and educational opportunities for students and the general public. This project will create a network of citizen scientists and school groups who will be positioned to gather current phenological data on flowering times and leafing-out times that can then be compared with data that will be gathered from digitized herbarium specimens.

Broader Impacts:


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1 - Yale University, Peabody Museum of Natural History, PO Box 208118, New Haven, CT, 06520, USA
2 - University Of Vermont, Jeffords Hall, 63 Carrigan Drive, Burlington, VT, 05405, USA
3 - Harvard University, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University Herbaria, 22 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA
4 - Yale University, Department Of Ecology And Evolutionary Biology, YALE UNIV-PO BOX 208105, New Haven, CT, 06520-8105, USA
5 - Brown University, Box G-W, 80 Waterman St, Providence, RI, 02912, USA
6 - Harvard University, Harvard Forest, 324 North Main Street, Petersham, MA, 01366, USA
7 - Harvard University, Harvard University Herbaria, 22 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA
8 - University of New Hampshire, Department of Biological Sciences, G32 Spaulding Hall, Durham, NH, 03824, United States
9 - Boston Universtiy, DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, 5 Cummington Street, Boston, MA, 02215, USA
10 - UNIV OF MASSACHUSETTS, Biology Department, AMHERST, MA, 01003-5810, USA
11 - University of Oklahoma, School of Industrial Engineering, CEC 116B, 202 W. Boyd St., Norman, OK, 73019, USA
12 - University of New Hampshire, Department of Biological Sciences, Rudman Hall, 46 College Rd., Durham, NH, 03824, USA

Keywords:
biodiversity informatics
digitization
herbarium
vascular plants.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY11
Location: Franklin A/Hyatt
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Time: 2:45 PM
Number: SY11005
Abstract ID:855


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