Herbaria are collections of plant specimens. Over the last 200 years, scientists have gathered over more than 5 million plant specimens, stored across multiple herbaria. Digitizing these collections make them accessible for study by a larger number of researchers, land managers, conservationists, and the public. That was the herculean task taken on by a multi-institutional team of NSF-funded researchers. Learn more with NSF's The Discovery Files.
Credit: National Science Foundation
Hi! I'm Mo Barrow, with The Discovery Files, from NSF -- the U.S. National Science Foundation.
I have a question for you. What are herbaria?
Herbaria are collections of plant specimens, and over the last 200 years, scientists have gathered over more than 5 million plant specimens, stored across multiple herbaria.
And now! They are being digitized.
That was the herculean task taken on by a multi-institutional team of NSF-funded researchers, led by Appalachian State University, and reviewed in a study conducted at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Herbaria provide a major resource for researchers studying evolution, extinction and climate change and the researchers often discover entirely new species. Digitizing these collections make them accessible to a larger number of researchers, land managers, conservationists, and the public -- like you -- for further study.
Increasing amounts of our natural habitats are lost to urbanization and deforestation. Herbaria play a vital role, offering researchers a botanical archive of ecosystems long-since developed or demolished.
So, if you're ever asked, "What are herbaria?" You too, can school the questioner.
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