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Award Abstract #1304924

Collaborative Research: Digitization TCN: The Macroalgal Herbarium Consortium: Accessing 150 Years of Specimen Data to Understand Changes in the Marine/Aquatic Environment

Div Of Biological Infrastructure
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Initial Amendment Date: July 20, 2013
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Latest Amendment Date: January 14, 2016
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Award Number: 1304924
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: Roland Roberts
DBI Div Of Biological Infrastructure
BIO Direct For Biological Sciences
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Start Date: August 1, 2013
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End Date: July 31, 2017 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $1,857,604.00
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Investigator(s): Christopher Neefus chris.neefus@unh.edu (Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH 03824-3585 (603)862-2172
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NSF Program(s): Digitization
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Program Reference Code(s): 6895, 9150
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Program Element Code(s): 6895


This award will support investigators from a consortium of 50 herbaria at universities, botanical gardens, and natural history museums across the U.S. to digitize their collections of macroalgae. When they have finished, high resolution images and information about when and where each specimen was collected will be openly accessible for more than a million specimens through the consortium's web portal and the iDigBio web resource. Macroalgae are the foundation of marine, estuarine and freshwater benthic ecosystems providing food, substrata and protection for a myriad of other aquatic organisms. Many macroalgal species are sensitive to environmental change. The data provided through the portal will allow researchers and the public at large determine how macroalgal biodiversity and our aquatic ecosystems have changed over the past 150 years as a result of climate change, bioinvasions, and a wide range of human activity.

A number of macroalgal species, including kelp, nori, and others are grown extensively via aquaculture or harvested from the wild for human food and for extraction of colloids used in cosmetics, food products, and pharmaceuticals. The consortium's web portal will provide opportunities for the public to learn about the economic and ecological importance of macroalgae. Tools will be provided for citizen scientists to contribute to the project by helping transcribe some of the ancillary details from specimen labels into the database. Interactive exhibits and educational modules will be developed by the education departments of the museums in the consortium where hundreds of thousands of visitors will experience them each year. The project will also provide integrative training in collections and informatics research for undergraduate and graduate students through participation in the digitization effort and through internships at one of the museums. 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 the national resource (iDigBio.org).


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McCormick, Carol Ann. "Make Room for Harvey!," Newsletter, North Carolina Botanical Garden, v.42, 2014, p. 8.

N?Yeurt, A.D.R. and R.T. Tsuda. "New records of Rhodophyta and Chlorophyta from Tonga, Central Polynesia," Marine Biodiversity Records, v.7 e111, 2014. 

Schoonover, Kevan. "University of Alabama Herbarium (UNA) Algae Collection: An Overview.," Phycological Newsletter, v.51, 2015, p. 21.

Tsuda, R.T.. "Bibliographic catalogue of the marine benthic algae in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (Northwestern Hawaiian Islands).," Phytotaxa., v.167, 2014, p. 35. 

Tsuda, R.T.. "Endemism of marine algae in the Hawaiian Islands.," Bishop Museum Occasional Papers, v.115, 2014, p. 23. 


Please report errors in award information by writing to: awardsearch@nsf.gov.



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