Abstract Detail

Biodiversity Informatics & Herbarium Digitization

Teixeira-Costa, Luiza [1], Heberling, Mason [2], Wilson, Carol [3], Davis, Charles [4].

Parasitic flowering plant collections embody the extended specimen.

The widespread digitization of natural history collections, combined with novel tools and approaches is revolutionizing biodiversity science. The “extended specimen” concept advocates a more holistic approach in which a specimen is framed as a diverse stream of interconnected data. Specimens that by their very nature contain multispecies relationships, such as certain parasites, fungi, and lichens, hold the potential to provide a broader and more integrative view of the ecologic and evolution of symbiotic interactions. This is the case of parasite-host associations, which owing to their interconnectedness are particularly vulnerable to global environmental change. Here, we present an overview of how the diversity of parasitic flowering plants is represented in herbarium collections. We then discuss the variety of data that can be gathered from parasitic plant specimens, and how they can be used to understand global change impacts at multiple scales. Finally, we review best practices for sampling parasitic plants in the field, and subsequently preparing and digitizing specimens. Plant parasitism has evolved 12 times within angiosperms, and similar to other plant taxa, herbarium collections have provided the basis for analyzing key aspects of their ecology and evolution. Yet these collections hold far greater potential. Data and metadata obtained from parasitic plant specimens can inform analyses of co-distribution patterns, changes in eco physiology and species plasticity through temporal and spatial scales, chemical ecology of tripartite interactions, and the application of molecular data in species conservation. Moreover, owing to the historic nature and sheer size of global herbarium collections, these data can be assessed and examined across space and time. Parasitic plant specimens are primed to serve as ideal examples of the extended specimen and motivate the next generation of collection-based science. Continued digitization efforts and improved curatorial practices can help expose these specimens to a broader audience, allowing integrative research and offering novel opportunities for education.

1 - Harvard University, Harvard University Herbaria, 22 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA, 02138, United States
2 - Carnegie Museum Of Natural, Section Of Botany, 4400 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, United States
3 - University Of California, Berkeley, UC & Jepson Herbaria, 1001 Valley Life Sciences #2465, Berkeley, CA, 94720, United States
4 - Harvard University, 22 Divinity Avenue, 22 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA, 02138, United States

none specified

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: BI&HD II004
Abstract ID:306
Candidate for Awards:None

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