Abstract Detail

Botanical History

Sokoloff, Paul [1], Saarela, Jeffery [1], Doubt, Jennifer [1], Sharp, Lyndsey [1], Deduke, Chris [1], McMullin, Troy [1], Gillespie, Lynn [1].

Archival fieldwork: “new” Arctic plant biodiversity data from backlogged herbarium specimens.

Plant, lichen, and algae collections deposited in herbaria around the world underpin our knowledge of species distribution and taxonomy, but time and resource constraints often limit the ability of herbaria staff to identify, prepare, and/or digitize these specimens. As a result, backlogs of material that are not yet part of the active collection can accumulate. While these lots may be safely stored and preserved, the biodiversity data represented by the specimens remains unavailable to users of both physical and virtual (on-line) collections. The specimen backlog in the Canadian Museum of Nature's National Herbarium of Canada comprises an estimated 2 000 000 specimens, including thousands of sheets, packets, and vials from the North American Arctic.
We have been working to process the backlogged collections of three prominent Arctic botanists: Dr. Sylvia Edlund, Margaret Oldenburg, and Dr. Nicholas Polunin. Together these three lots of over 10 000 specimens represent a combined 28 years of collecting effort between 1933 and 1991. These specimens, collected across the Canadian Arctic ecozone, include species occurrence information from locations not visited since and specimens from well-botanized sites where repeatedly collected species can support temporal understanding of species distribution and phenology.
We conducted archival searches, interpreted field notes, and communicated with collectors' relatives to fill in missing label data, and identified or confirmed each specimen. Completed batches were then mounted and digitized by co-op students and herbarium volunteers, with help from project funding earmarked for backlog reduction. Notable “new” records documented by these samples include a new locality for the globally rare Arctic Orangebush Lichen (Seirophora aurantiaca) and numerous specimens from under-collected areas in Nunavut’s Kivalliq Region. We will present this project and the floristic results from these efforts and place these important collections in historical context.

1 - Canadian Museum of Nature, Canadian Museum of Nature, 1740 Ch. Pink, Gatineau, Qu├ębec, J9J 3N7, Canada


Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PBH002
Abstract ID:414
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright © 2000-2022, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved