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Abstract Detail

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

Thiers, Barbara [1].

The Macrofungi Collection Consortium: Foundation for a Mycoflora of North America.

The Macrofungi Collection Consortium (MaCC) is a digitization project funded by NSF’s Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collection. Between 2012 and 2015, 35 participating institutions digitized 800,000 herbarium specimens of fungi with conspicuous spore-bearing structures, such as polypores, mushrooms and puffballs. These data, combined with previously digitized specimens created a database of approximately 1.6 million specimens records which are shared through the MycoPortal. The MaCC project was succeeded by the Microfungi Collections Consortium (MiCC) that has the goal of digitizing all additional mycological collections held in U.S. Herbaria. In addition to the digitized herbarium specimen data, the MycoPortal also contains descriptions, illustrations, and observational records and is a resource both amateur and professional mycologists. The amateur mycological community is very well established and organized in the U.S. with 80 clubs and 10,200 individual members under the umbrella North American Mycological Association. Three of the herbaria included in the MaCC were built largely through the efforts of amateur mycologists. Outreach to the amateur community has been a major component of the Macrofungi digitization project, including numerous tours, lectures and training sessions about how to use the MycoPortal for club or individual projects. The need for a Mycoflora of North America was articulated in 2011, and a workshop of 75 professional and amateur mycologists was convened to explore the topic in 2012. Many details of the proposed Mycoflora of North America were not explored in depth, but those assembled agreed on the need for collection, sequencing and vouchering of specimens by amateur clubs as well as professionals and students. Since 2012, at least 14 amateur clubs have embarked on projects to obtain DNA sequences from their collections, and to create voucher specimens. Clubs make arrangements with laboratories to obtain sequences, and the cost of sequencing comes from club dues. In some cases, they use sequence data to compare species and identify novelties. What is lacking so far is direction from a wide range of professional mycologists about which groups should be surveyed, which genes are best for which groups, and how to document voucher specimens. However, this may be about to change, as plans are currently underway for the development of a more formal collaboration between amateur and professional mycologists to create a Mycoflora, published using the tools available in the MycoPortal.

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Related Links:
Mycoportal website

1 - The New York Botanical Garden, Herbarium, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY, 10458, 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: 1:45 PM
Number: SY2002
Abstract ID:76
Candidate for Awards:None

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