Small Collections Grant

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A New Blossoming for the Herbarium of Niterói (NIT)

Adriana Quintella Lobão

Brazil

Process backlog, Conserve

Cost: $

2000

NIT

Universidade Federal Fluminense

Objective:

With this project, we aim to (i) supply the collection with adequate materials for mounting and incorporating backlog specimens; (ii) expand and develop available data in our database; (iii) improve physical conditions for specimen preservation; and (iv) consolidate Integrated Pest Management protocols. Due to severe budget cuts, which have stricken our research institution in its entirety, we have been persistently searching for alternative means to keep the herbarium running and prevent the loss of scientifically valuable materials as a result of inadequate storage conditions.

Plan:

The Herbarium of Niterói (NIT) is under the care of one curator, one technician and two students. The expansion of our collection is severely hindered due to insufficient equipment for fresh specimen preparation and limited cabinet space. Roughly one quarter of our storage space is occupied by specimens that were brought from the field over the last few years and were not entirely incorporated into the collection due to a lack of adequate materials. Once we improve our stock with the basic materials for processing, mounting and storing specimens while producing archival quality labels, we can increase eficiency of new entries and backlog specimen processing in the collection. This process also includes inserting specimen data in our online database (nit.jbrj.gov.br), which allows our staff to mass print standardized labels.
Since it is located in a tropical region, our herbarium needs to cope with high temperature and relative humidity values and fluctuations. The Fluminense Federal University, to which NIT is subordinate, has provided the collection room with air conditioning and dehumidifying equipments. These, we fear, will not suffice to prevent specimen deterioration in the long term, since insulation flaws combined with occasional power outages could create favorable conditions for pests to attack. By carefully using bug repellent chemicals, while still implementing quarantine and decontamination procedures, we can ensure that our preserved specimens will be safe.

Timetable:

For the first half of 2020, we will focus our time and effort on preparing and mounting herbarium specimens onto sheets. We estimate to produce at least 1000 mounted sheets during this period. In June, we will gather all mounted sheets from our backlog and digitize their data into a spreadsheet. Afterwards, we will upload the information to our online database, generate standardized label files and print labels for the specimens, including duplicates. This process shouldn’t take longer than one month. The next and final step is attaching the labels to the sheets and reorganizing the collection using the acquired cabinet shelves as the new material is being incorporated. This operation will include over 2000 specimens and we expect to conclude it by November 2020.
Our Integrated Pest Management policy involves monthly surveys for monitoring and replacing bug repellent chemicals (naphthalene) and submitting specimens to decontamination processes under extremely low temperatures.
Despite the estimates provided here, incorporation of new material, as well as IPM protocols, will be carried out indefinitely.

Referee 1:

Ruy José Válka Alves

Referee 2:

Michael John Gilbert Hopkins

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:

/60

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:

/20

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:

/20

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