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NSF Awards Nearly $1M for Plant Digitization

The National Science Foundation recently awarded the Botanical Research Institute of Texas and the California Botanic Garden nearly $1 million to support the digitization and linking of plant specimens and other archival materials.

Through the Infrastructure Capacity for Biological Research program, botanists and library staff will curate and digitize the biological and archival materials of renowned American Botanist Sherwin Carlquist. This four-year collaborative project, “Advancing the Extended Specimen Network: Curating and Digitizing the Sherwin Carlquist Collection,” aims to create an Extended Specimen Network with Carlquist’s collections. The concept of the extended specimen encompasses various linked components relating to an individual specimen, including the physical specimen, its digitized specimen record, and other associated biological preparations and data types, such as field notes, images in situ of the specimen and its habitat, and genetic samples.

Dr. Carlquist’s esteemed career included tenure as a botanist at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, professor emeritus at Claremont Graduate School and Pomona College, being named a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and earning awards from the Smithsonian Institution and California Academy of Sciences.

“We are delighted that his valuable work will be accessible to researchers across various scientific disciplines and members of the public,” said Librarian Ana Niño. “The archival materials—mostly photographic in nature except for his field notebooks—will be digitized here at BRIT, and the biological materials like herbarium specimens, fluid-preserved specimens, wood specimens, and wood anatomy microscopic slides will be digitized concurrently at California Botanic Garden.”

The amount awarded to BRIT is $509,792, and the amount awarded to CalBG is $482,583, for a total of $992,375.

Note: The NSF Award number for this project is #2133562.

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