pdf Liberating Arctic botanical biodiversity data at the Canadian Museum of Nature Popular


Liberating Arctic botanical biodiversity data at the Canadian Museum of Nature

Jeffery Saarela
Canadian Museum of Nature

Gualtieri, Lisa C.
Robillard, Cassandra M.
Sharp, Lyndsey A.
Sokoloff, Paul C.
Saarela, Jeffery M.*
All authors have the same affiliation: Centre for Arctic Knowledge and Exploration, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada.
*Presenting author

Core to the polar research information spectrum are the millions of biological and geological specimens in natural history collections. These specimens represent biodiversity data documenting the distribution of species in time and space; they serve as vouchers for the datasets that underpin scientific conclusions, allowing future workers to confirm or revise identifications; and they are sources of new data, such as genetic information. Most natural history museums face the massive “big data” challenge of databasing and imaging their collections, allowing them to be widely discovered, shared, used and reused in research and outreach. The Canadian Museum of Nature houses over 300K Arctic specimens – the largest Arctic natural history collection in Canada – but data for only a subset are currently accessible online. To correct this, the National Herbarium of Canada is engaged in a project to digitize, georeference and image its Arctic plant, moss and lichen specimens, according to global standards that facilitate collection data sharing and integration. The work is focused on collections made in the three Canadian territories: Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. This work fits into the Congress theme "Improving data management, coordination and access".


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