Abstract Detail

Biodiversity at the brink: leveraging herbaria for conservation!

Roy, Tilottama [1].

Sustaining plant biodiversity conservation research with herbarium specimens in a post pandemic world.

Since early 2020, Covid 19 has brought about a global crisis, affecting people’s lives in a variety of ways. One of the most daunting challenges faced by researchers in today’s world is continuing uninterrupted research in a world hard-hit by the pandemic. Recent studies have estimated that ~39% of plant species are at a risk of extinction. In the field of plant biodiversity conservation research, botanists have traditionally relied on field collection and in-situ observation and collection of data for their studies. However, this has been affected greatly as a result of preventative measures and restrictions imposed by different countries, to curb the spread of the disease. As a result, botanists and conservation biologists across the globe have increased their reliance on utilizing natural history collections, particularly herbarium preserved plant specimens and digitized collections for their research. Natural history collections including digitized herbarium specimens can prove to be immensely useful in gathering data on range extent, population size, and population trends over time, and can prove to be a crucial source for gathering comprehensive data on assessing a taxon’s extinction risk. Although with the advent of vaccines, things have started to look better, however, it will take us decades, if at all, to go back to the pre-pandemic times of freely venturing out to field sites in different countries across the globe. My talk focuses particularly on how utilization of herbarium specimens including digitized collections will continue to play a pivotal role for plant biodiversity conservation research and teaching, and what the future holds for us.

1 - Missouri Western State University, Biology, 4525 Downs Drive, Agenstein 237F, Saint Joseph, MO, 64507, United States

species conservation

Presentation Type: Special Sessions
Number: SS009
Abstract ID:153
Candidate for Awards:None

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