Small Collections Grant

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Type Digitization, cataloguing and databasing of the USM Peruvian fern and lycophyte collection

Blanca León


Digitally image

Cost: $



Museo de Historia Natural, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos


The fern and lycophyte collection at USM, the largest in the country, includes nearly 7500 specimens. It harbors type material already mounted and conserved in a specifically designated cabinet. None of the specimens have been imaged or digitized, and the whole collection can only be accessed by visiting Peru. Our objectives are 1-to digitize all type material and selected specimens of the entire collection to be made publicly available through the web portal of the Pteridophyte Collections Consortium (PCC), 2- to complete the USM-cataloguing, and 3-start databasing the entire collection.


Digitization and curation of type material: At USM, the type lycopod specimens belong to the Lycopodiaceae, while fern type specimens belong to Marattiaceae, Cyatheaceae, Athyriaceae, Tectariaceae, Aspleniaceae, Dryopteridaceae, Thelypteridaceae and Polypodiaceae. These types will be labeled with acid-free paper labels identifying their status as type material. Update of their taxonomic status will be added when necessary by using a label with its currently accepted name printed on acid-free paper.
Peru’s pteridophyte flora includes over 1400 taxa, one of the most diverse in the Neotropics, therefore selection of 700 additionally selected specimens will represent four of the most species rich families: Lycopodiaceae, Pteridaceae, Dryopteridaceae and Polypodiaceae. Selection of general specimens will be based on collections without duplicates elsewhere, and will represent 10% of the entire collection. Taxonomic status will be verified by the PI.
Specimens will be scanned using Herbscan and saved as TIFF files. Images and digitization will follow recommendations of the JSTOR Global Plants Initiative, and shared with the Pteridophyte Collections Consortium (PCC) as JPEGs.
The cataloguing aims to complete numbering the pteridophyte collection with USM-code numbers. We will start adding barcodes to specimens included in this project.
Databasing will incorporate the main pteridophyte collection label data in a relational database, all fields following Darwin Core criteria.


The work will be completed in six months. The first month will include selecting and training two students 1- in using the Herbscan scanner, already available at USM, 2- general introduction to databasing, and 3- introduction to nomenclature tools for evaluating names. The second month will accomplish 1-completion of labeling and scanning all type material, and 2-selection of non-type specimens for completing cataloguing and beginning of databasing. The following four months: completion and upload of all type material in the PCC site. Completion of USM-cataloguing of type material.

Referee 1:

Dr. Robbin C. Moran

Referee 2:

Dr George Yatskievych

Scoring Rubric

Your name:

Collection Improvement/Maintenance


1.  Contribution to the generation of digital herbarium data (digitization: data entry, setting up database structure, purchasing equipment).

2.  Contribution to enhancing our understanding of the flora by making new herbarium specimens available (processing of backlog).

3.  Contribution to enhancing our understanding of the flora by making new herbarium specimens available (shipping endangered collection to another herbarium).

4. Contribution towards improving conservation status of specimens in herbarium (better folders, protecting covers, mounting paper, labeling, etc.).

This proposal scores:


IAPT community building


5.  Herbarium's potential for success.

6.  Perceived need, extent to which the project will benefit from IAPT funding.
7. Sharing specimens with other herbaria.

This proposal scores:


Broader Impacts

8. The project will yield durable benefits (specimens, digitized metadata, databases, websites).

9. The proposed project involves outreach/mentoring and broad dissemination.

This proposal scores:


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