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Abstract Detail



Historical Section

Emry, Jason [1], Bartz, Cheyenne [1], Nelson, Jonathan [1].

Bringing a Small Regional Herbarium into the Modern Age.

The Washburn Herbarium (WASH) has approximately 7200 catalogued specimens collected primarily by faculty and students over the past 150 years. Early records provide a valuable record of the flora of northeastern Kansas prior to extensive settlement. Unfortunately, the collection has seen very little recent growth, and the potentially useful, historical data that are associated with the existing specimens have not been utilized in current research. While this outlook appears bleak the Washburn Department of Biology has had a small but growing number of students enrolling in upper division botany courses who are also interested in using plant-based projects to fulfill the research credits required for their major. The work presented here is part of an ongoing effort to organize, assess, and build Washburn’s herbarium collections. Specimen data were first collected from herbarium labels, notebooks, and spreadsheets. These data were then compiled into a single spreadsheet that served as the master list from which subsets of data could be extracted and analyzed. More than 98% of all specimens had taxonomic information. At this stage, we have only determined broad taxonomic representation with Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Rosaceae, and Poaceae being the most represented and vascular cryptogams having the fewest representatives. Nearly one third of the existing specimens did not include date or location so they cannot be used in biogeographical or phenological studies. Of the specimens with complete records, more than half were collected before 1900 and within 120 km from Topeka, Kansas. The intensive processing period has allowed us to identify areas for improvement and create clear operational protocols for processing incoming specimens and for repairing and/or processing existing specimens. These steps have also allowed us to begin digitizing our collection so that the data can be accessed by a larger number of researchers. Ultimately, this work will not only improve the quality and accessibility of records; it will also ensure that the Washburn Herbarium remains relevant in the digital age.


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1 - Washburn University, Department of Biology, 1700 SW College Ave., Topeka, KS, 66621, USA

Keywords:
curation
Digitization.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Hall D/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PHS003
Abstract ID:1314
Candidate for Awards:None


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