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Abstract Detail

Enhancing Quality and Use of Herbarium Collection Data through Community Data Curation

Monfils, Anna [1], Thiers, Barbara M. [2].

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

The U.S. national heritage of approximately one billion biodiversity specimens, once digitized, can be linked to emerging digital data sources to form an information-rich network for exploring earth’s biota across taxonomic, temporal and spatial scales. Under the leadership of the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN), the stakeholder community has developed a strategy for the next decade to maximize the value of our collections resource for research and education. The result is a vision to focus future biodiversity infrastructure and digital resources on building a network of extended specimen data that encompasses the depth and breadth of biodiversity specimens and data held in U.S. collections institutions. The Extended Specimen Network (ESN) includes the physical voucher specimen curated and housed in a collection and its associated genetic, phenotypic and environmental data. These core data types, selected because they are key to answering driving research questions, include physical preparations such as tissue samples and their derivative products such as gene sequences or metagenomes, digitized media and annotations, and taxon- or locality-specific data such as occurrence observations, phylogenies and species distributions. The goals of the ESN were reinforced by the recent report on biological collections by the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering. Both articulate a shared vision of the future of biological collections in which they are sustained through the actualization of their potential to inform 21st century science. Therefore,we suggest that, biological collections data stakeholders can now begin the work of creating a set of action items, a timeline, metrics for measuring success, and an oversight mechanism for the implementation of the Extended Specimen Network by 2030. This plan will need to develop in coordination with other national and global efforts, including the European Digital Specimen initiative, which has developed alongside ESN. ( A global effort to integrate these parallel efforts and identify future strategies was initiated by the Alliance for Biodiversity Knowledge in a series of consultations, titled “Converging Digital and Extended Specimens: Towards a Global Specification for Data Integration” ( Working nationally and internationally, we can develop a comprehensive, permanent federation of all biological collections that fulfills their mission to represent past and present life forms for scientific discovery, wise environmental policy, and a scientifically literate citizenry. For more information, updates and opportunities to participate and contribute ideas visit

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1 - Central Michigan University, Biology, 2401 Biosciences, Mount Pleasant, MI, 48858, USA
2 - The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY, 10458, United States

digital data
extended specimen.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: C02, Enhancing Quality and Use of Herbarium Collection Data through Community Data Curation
Location: /
Date: Monday, July 19th, 2021
Time: 2:00 PM(EDT)
Number: C02007
Abstract ID:568
Candidate for Awards:None

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