Digitization PEN: Digitization of North American bryophytes and lichens in two important medium-sized collections.
This project joins the North American Lichens and Bryophytes: Sensitive Indicators of Environmental Quality and Change Thematic Collections Network (LBCC TCN). We will contribute by imaging and georeferencing 91,300 lichen and bryophyte specimen records at the University of Minnesota (MIN) and the Yale University (YU) herbaria. Historical records of lichens and bryophytes, along with geographic coordinates of collecting localities, are ideally suited for investigating a variety of questions related to global environmental change. The collections included in this PEN are each important regional repositories of North American specimens, and digitizing them will fill a considerable gap in the TCN’s goal of digitizing nearly all lichen and bryophyte specimens in North America. Data resulting from this project will be of immediate use to scientists who study how ecosystems respond to climate change and who use lichens and bryophytes as indicators of air quality. Societal benefits of this work include improved understanding of what causes ecosystem change and how environmental change may affect human health, our economy, and our environment. This project introduces a new generation of students to museum collections by offering internships to high schoolers of diverse backgrounds and by involving undergraduates and graduate students in project activities. This award is made as part of the National Resource for Digitization of Biological Collections through the Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections program and all data resulting from this award will be available through iDigBio.org.