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Abstract Detail

Green digitization: online botanical collections data answering real-world questions

Von Konrat, Matt [1], Smith, Arfon [2], Carstensen, Brian [3], Snyder, Chris [3], Trouille, Laura [3], Aronowsky, Audrey [4], Briscoe, Laura [5], Bryson, Mike [6], Campbell, Tom [7], Delavoi, Charlie [8], Vaughn, Caitlin [1], Walker, Taylor [9], Larrain, Juan [1], Zillen, Zak [10], Scheffel, Jonathan [1], de Lange, Peter [11], Shaw, Blanka [12], Carter, Ben [13], Gaus, Eve [1], Cohen, Steve [14], Newson, Jordan [1], Strauss, Kalman [1], Yang, Christina J. [1], Taylor, Peterson [1], Lopez, Alexandra [10].

Crowd-sourced science: Connecting digitized natural history collections to biodiversity education and conservation.

Alarmingly, the world's biodiversity is diminishing rapidly and undergoing an extinction crisis. Biological collections of museums and academic institutions, documenting the fossilized and living members of the world’s ecosystems and their changes over time, are uniquely poised to inform the stewardship of life on Earth. The NSF program Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) is enhancing and expanding the national resource of digital data documenting biological and paleontological collections at a rapid pace. We provide a collaborative model founded on these digitization efforts that work towards addressing the critical urgency of the loss of taxonomic expertise and the rapid decline of biodiversity. We adopt Symbiota as an online platform to accelerate documentation and discovery of a hyper-diverse liverwort genus (see: coupled with Citizen Science to help yield high quality data and to expedite taxonomic research. Scientists and educators are partnering with leaders in online Citizen Science, Zooniverse (see, and have a coordinated network including students and professionals at universities and partnering high schools and middle schools to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery. The project has the specific goal of engaging a broader audience, especially students and citizen scientists, to partner with our efforts in recording critical data sets from digitally rendered images. A web-based tool has been developed (see demonstrating a model approach to aid in relieving some of the taxonomic impediment, accelerating biodiversity documentation and discovery. We also demonstrate how this has recently been expanded using touch screen technology as part of a public exhibit on natural history collections. Almost 10,000 participants have generated data that are being utilized by researchers to help with species delimitation and aiding in uncovering cryptic species. The project focuses on a mega-diverse liverwort genus occurring in Australasia, the Malay Archipelago, and southern South America - representing several global biodiversity ‘hotspots’ - including the Polynesia-Micronesia hotspot, which is considered the epicentre of the current global extinction crisis by Conservation International. Only scant data exist for liverworts compared to many animal and seed plant groups of the region. Data derived directly from the participation of Citizen Scientists, particularly cryptic complexes of species, has a significant impact on our understanding of species distribution patterns and direct implications for conservation of these organisms in the region.

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Related Links:
This portal has been created to facilitate the sharing of data, synthesizing existing web resources and databases into a single streamlined resource for experts working on the liverwort genus Frullania. A major goal is to provide a dynamic forum to accele
Help discover biodiversity - an online tool to help measure micro plants

1 - The Field Museum, 1400 S Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL, 60605, United States
2 - Data Science Mission Office at Space Telescope, USA
3 - Adler Planetarium , Chicago, USA
4 - University of Chicago, Chicago, USA
5 - New York Botanical Gardens, New York, NY, USA
6 - Roosevelt University, Chicago, USA
7 - Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, USA
8 - University of Connecticut, USA
9 - Hollins University, USA
10 - Northeastern Illinois University, USA
11 - Department of Conservation, New Zealand
12 - Duke University, USA
13 - San Jose State University, USA
14 - Roosevelt University, USA

Citizen Science

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY2, Green digitization: online botanical collections data answering real-world questions
Location: Fort Worth Ballroom 4/Omni Hotel
Date: Monday, June 26th, 2017
Time: 4:15 PM
Number: SY2007
Abstract ID:181
Candidate for Awards:None

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