Armchair Botany and the Andes to Amazon Biodiversity Program: Volunteers Make Scientists’ Hard Work Accessible
Important botanical science happens in the field. Researchers tramp across habitats, sometimes in remote and rugged regions of the world, collect plant samples, document the distribution of species and study ecosystems in action. Later those scientists return to the lab with boxes of specimens, and a new and equally important phase of research begins. Scientists label, mount and digitize specimens to make them accessible to the global science community. They become a resource that can be studied in multiple contexts–as part of an ecosystem or as a member of a particular plant family, for example.