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Abstract Detail

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

Delves, Jay [1], Knapp, Sandra [2], Moonlight, Peter [1].

Herbaria for understanding diversity and distribution - does size matter?

Herbaria are important repositories of plant diversity information, but the degree to which they are useful in addressing biodiversity loss in the here and now has been questioned. How can a dead organism pressed on a bit of paper be of any use in addressing an urgent societal challenge especially in the face of widespread habitat loss in the tropics? Most of the world's tropical plant species are known from five or fewer digitally available herbarium specimens, with significant implications for all downstream analyses using species distribution data, including conservation assessments, biogeographic analyses, protected area planning, and taxonomic accounts. Digitised herbarium specimens, however, are biased. Specimens in large, historical herbaria in richer countries are much more likely to be databased, available online, and imaged and therefore verifiable. Many such herbaria have a long colonial legacy and in many cases the bulk of their collections are online but often have been collected long ago. Conversely, specimens in smaller, local herbaria in poorer, tropical countries are much less likely to be available online but have usually been collected much more recently, however, specimens in local herbaria are much less likely to be included in downstream analyses, meaning local investigator's contributions are less likely to be included, with potential impacts on their careers. Using datasets of Begonia and Solanum from PerĂº we will explore the disproportionate contribution of local herbaria and botanists to our knowledge of tropical plant distributions, and link this to the need for prioritization of these institutions for digital access and the importance of equity in science.

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Related Links:
The Begonia Resource Centre
Solanaceae Source

1 - Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Tropical Diversity, 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR, United Kingdom
2 - The Natural History Museum, Algae, Fungi and Plants Division, Life Sciences, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, United Kingdom

Tropical plants
herbarium specimens
digital data
equity in science
open science.

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: 1:45 PM(EDT)
Number: C02006
Abstract ID:633
Candidate for Awards:None

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