Small Collections Grant

This page is used to provide assessment scores for the grant. Please use the rubric below the grant details

to enter your assessment score

Creating a digital collection of Puerto Rico's endemic plant species

Dr Martin Hamilton & Mr Jose Sustache

Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Database, Digitally image, Other

Cost: $



Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, Puerto Rico


The flora of Puerto Rico is one of the most studied floras in the Caribbean due to its diversity and richness of species. Having previously helped SJ digitise some restricted range species endemic to the Puerto Rican Bank in 2016, a team comprised of staff from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and SJ Herbarium are submitting this grant application, with the aim to digitise (image and database) all herbarium specimens of Puerto Rican endemic species. All specimens will be geo-referenced, so the distribution data can be widely used to inform local conservation and global threat assessments.


The digitisation of herbarium collections will give greater accessibility to carry out countless scientific studies. Many projects require examining the specimens collected, others require rapid verification of the data that labels have as locations, phenology and distribution of species that can be obtained from images through the digitisation of specimens themselves as well as their electronic databases. Access to relevant plant collections is essential to promote knowledge of global biodiversity and inform conservation activities.

Two members of staff from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew with extensive digitisation experience, will travel to SJ to work alongside the collection curator, Mr Jose Sustache. The digitisation workflow developed at Kew and previously employed at SJ will be followed. This workflow has three main elements: a specimen workflow, an image workflow and a data workflow. The specimen workflow involves the selection and barcoding of the targeted specimens. The image workflow comprises image capture, processing, image management, metadata recording and quality control. The final stage of the digitisation workflow focuses on the data, which includes capturing and managing those data associated with specimens and is primarily focused on the curatorial information – the geographic area and stored under name.


The project will take place in the last quarter of 2020. A target list of species will be compiled by Kew and SJ staff using published literature (e.g. Axelrod’s A systematic vademecum to the vascular plants of Puerto Rico) and online databases (e.g. Kew’s POWO, Smithsonian’s Catalogue of Seed Plants of the West Indies). The digitisation work in Puerto Rico will take place over two weeks in late 2020. All data cleaning will take place at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in consultation with SJ staff. Those data and images generated will be repatriated to SJ by April 2021.

Referee 1:

Dr Colin Clubbe

Referee 2:

Nilda M. Jiménez

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:


Donate to IAPT when you shop on Amazon

Unless otherwise specified, content on this website is licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY. Please see our Terms of Use for more information.