The Harvard University Herbaria was recently awarded $4.7 million from the National Science Foundation for the collaborative project Bringing Asia to digital life: mobilizing underrepresented Asian herbarium collections in the US to propel biodiversity discovery.
The HUH, represented by PI Charles Davis, Curator of Vascular Plants, and co-PI Jonathan Kennedy, Director of Biodiversity Informatics, will lead the project involving 25 institutions. The project aims to newly digitize 3 million plant specimens in U.S. herbaria using state-of-the-art informatics tools and high throughput digitization methods and combine these with data in Asia and Europe to mobilize 15 million specimens of Asian plants. Focusing especially on specimens from the unique and critically endangered biodiversity hotspots of Southeast Asia and the Himalaya-Hengduan regions, these data will accelerate research to conserve endangered plant species and understand the interacting effects of evolution and global environmental change on plant biodiversity. Digitized specimen data mobilized through this project will be shared and made available through iDigBio.org.
Read more about the project in the news release: https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/928521
NSF #2101884, “Digitization TCN: Collaborative Research: Bringing Asia to digital life: mobilizing underrepresented Asian herbarium collections in the US to propel biodiversity discovery.” This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.