Abstract Detail



Celebrating 15 years of SERNEC: Where we've been, where we are, & where we are going

Weeks, Andrea [1], Wallace, Lisa [2], Gonzalez-Akre, Erika [3].

Virginia's commonwealth of collections: five years of herbarium outreach, education and community integration.

In 2014, curators of 11 Virginian herbaria (GMUF, FARM, VPI, LYN, VMIL, URV, LFCC, JMUH, VCU, BDWR, AVCH) began creating publicly accessible databases of their specimens, including high-resolution digital images. Participation by over 50 project staff and over 1,000 citizen-scientists has been integral to the project’s success, which has included creating over 218,000 digitized records of vascular plant specimens and securing the digital preservation of several inactive collections within the state. In Summer 2016, images of the Virginian specimens began being routed through the online crowd-sourcing platform, Notes from Nature, as ecologically-themed expeditions entitled, “Plants of Virginia.” Engagement of undergraduate and graduate students, members of the Virginia Master Naturalists and the Virginia Native Plant Society, and the general public in the transcription process has fostered substantive opportunities for education about the importance of herbaria for research and has resulted in over 75,000 transcription events. New modules for educating undergraduate students about Virginia’s native flora and biodiversity informatics research have been developed using the sernecportal.org database. Moreover, new state records of native and non-native plant taxa revealed by digitized records will expand the second edition of the Flora of Virginia, which is now in progress. In Spring 2018, three additional Virginian herbaria (WILLI, ODU, MWCF) joined SERNEC as a PEN. In this PEN project, herbaria at the College of William and Mary, Old Dominion University, and University of Mary Washington will contribute nearly 120,000 additional digitized records from southeastern Virginia to the SERNEC dataset. In this region, many southern species reach their northern limit and northern species reach their southern limit. Thus, these additional records can aid in studies to examine the species distribution patterns and the mechanisms behind these transitions. Educational materials will also be developed for K-12 classes to strengthen botanical literacy and understanding of plant diversity in the Southeast.


1 - George Mason University, Department Of Biology, 4400 University Drive MSN 3E1, Fairfax, VA, 22030, United States
2 - Old Dominion University, Biological Sciences, Mills Godwin Building Rm. 110, Norfolk, VA, 23529, United States
3 - Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, 1500 Remount Rd., Front Royal, VA, 22630 , USA

Keywords:
digitization
STEM Education
public outreach.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Number:
Abstract ID:584
Candidate for Awards:None


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