Small Collections Grant

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IAPT 2020 SCG to PSUB: Taking care of legacy plant collection specimens for future ecological reference material on the Okavango Delta, Botswana.

Frances Murray-Hudson


Process backlog, Conserve

Cost: $



Peter Smith University of Botswana Herbarium at Okavango Research Institute, University of Botswana.


To prepare herbarium sheets from specific collectors at the core of PSUB’s legacy collection. Targeting families of Cyperaceae and Poaceae which include environmentally significant species in the Okavango Delta’s flood-pulsed wetland.
To assimilate, from our archive of original documentation and online resources, all information relevant to create comprehensive specimen labels. The data will be imported into PSUB’s tailor-made BRAHMS database. Each selected specimen will be repaired or mounted to international standards.


The IAPT SCG will help address PSUB’s lack of resources (money, time & expertise) to thoroughly investigate and assimilate all information available about the targeted legacy collection specimens.
Your funds will employ two local resident experts knowledgeable about PSUB’s collection and BRAHMS. Using original P.A. Smith records and files as a guide, herbarium sheets of Cyperaceae and Poaceae from core legacy collectors will be selected.
Then, within genera, the specimens of each species will have their current taxonomic status checked and updated. As reference for taxonomic treatments of the selected monocots of this project we will consult: World Flora on Line, The African Plants Database, IPNI, Kew’s Plants of the World Online; SANBI’s New Plants of Southern Africa, a reliable, essential source of information on duplicates for PSUB and The Plant List (not updated since 2012 but provides easy access to taxa and authors for label making and data entry).
Since we share and compare taxonomic protocols and exchange data on duplicates of PSUB specimens with other Botswana and regional herbaria, we also use a listing, provided by SANBI, as taxonomic guideline to genera level.
After updating the determination, labels will be generated for each specimen with mention of IAPT SCG support. Thus, when scanned, the value of these herbarium specimens is maximised as they will have been prepared correctly and have all known information on a legible, permanent label.


• We intend to use IAPT SCG funds over a six-month period. Work would start once funds have been cleared at ORI.
• Month one: Preliminary selection of herbarium sheets, background taxonomic research begun, A short synopsis/Inception report written on the status and outline the work to be done.
• Next four months: Focus on sorting selected legacy collection herbarium sheets for repairing, mounting and compilation of data to create full labels for those specimens without. Sheets grouped according to needs of specimens. Duplicate sheets of labelled specimens will take lower priority. Most will need information to be transcribed from PSUB archive files and folders plus research into duplicates held at other herbaria with data available online.
• The last month will be dedicated to importing newly acquired data into PSUB’s BRAHMS, extending taxa, people and geographical lists. All fully prepared sheets from this project will held aside for scanning. A final status report on the project’s success and plans for the future will be submitted to IAPT SCG committee.

Referee 1:

Dr. Frances Chase

Referee 2:

Prof. Demel Teketay Fanta

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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