Small Collections Grant
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Exploring plant diversity in Anchicayá, one of the most biodiverse hotspots of the world
Digitally image, Process backlog
The objective of the project “Exploring plant diversity in Anchicayá, one of the most biodiverse hotspots of the world” is to study all plants in a hyper diverse tropical forest of the Choco region in Colombia. For the past year and a half, staff from the Herbario Icesi have set up six 0.1 ha permanent plots, and one 1 ha plot to monitor lowland humid tropical forest in a 300-ha reserve in Anchicayá on the Western slope of the Western Andean Colombian Cordillera. The money requested in this grant will be used to process (mount and digitalize) 800 plant samples collected in this project.
Studying plants in hyper diverse forests represents a titanic challenge given the high proportion of unknown species, and the huge diversity of plants needed to be recorded. However, recording species from biodiversity hotspots has never been more urgent, given the current rates of forest degradation and deforestation1,2. For this reason, we, at Herbario Icesi, have undertaken the task of recording and studying plants at Anchicayá, a reserve located on the Western slope of the Western Andean Colombian Cordillera, at the very heart of Choco biodiversity hotspot in South America3,4. With an estimation of 9,000-12,500 plant species and more than 5,000 endemic3,4, the Choco region remains largely unexplored5.
For the past year and a half, staff from Herbario Icesi have set up six 0.1 ha plots, and one 1 ha permanent plot to monitor lowland humid tropical forest in a 300-ha reserve in Anchicayá. All trees, palms, and lianas with diameter at breast height (DBH) ≥ 2.5 cm have been marked, measured, and collected (at least two samples per species). In addition, plants (trees, palms, lianas, shrubs and lianas) with reproductive structures (flowers or fruits) have been collected from forests surrounding the monitoring plots. As a result, more than 1000 plant samples have been oven-dried but need to be mounted and digitalized at the herbarium. To do this, we will hire a biologist who has already been trained at the herbarium, for mounting and digitalizing 800 of these samples.
Plant mounting + cataloguing 800 samples (February to May 2020): Dried plant samples will be processed and selected according to quality (200 samples per month). The best sample per species will be mounted for Icesi Herbarium, and replicates will be organized and sent to partner herbaria (Universidad del Valle, Universidad de Antioquia, and Universidad Nacional de Colombia). Plant samples have labels with complete information collected in the field, in addition to preliminary identification. Mounted samples will be catalogued at the herbarium, and correctly identified by experts in the future.
Plant digitalization 800 (June-July 2020): Each mounted specimen will be entered in the herbarium data base and will be photographed with a high-resolution image station we have at the herbarium. These high-quality images will be crucial for the identification of species, as well as for continuing building our on-line herbarium in the future.
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:
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: