Small Collections Grant

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Curatorial improvements of historical collections deposited in MEDEL herbarium

Jorge Perez Zabala


Database, Process backlog

Cost: $



Universidad Nacional de Colombia, sede Medellin


- Advances in the mounting of a backlog of stored historical specimens.
- Data-basing of specimens of Lamiales in BRAHMS 7.9
- Restoration (repairing of mounting issues) of historical specimens of Lamiales that require it.


Hiring students previously trained in herbarium curatorial activities for a total of 4 periods of 16 weeks (12 hours per week). The planned work could be done either by 2 students each one for 2 periods or by 4 students for 1 period each depending of their availability. The supporting stipend for students for each period will be around US $500 following University standards.
2 work periods will be spent in databasing and revising mounting issues of specimens belonging to the order Lamiales (around 3000 in MEDEL) which is one of the few not included yet in the local database maintained in BRAHMS 7.9 for 15 years now. The other 2 work periods will be spent in partially processing the backlog of unmounted specimens which sums around 3500 to date. Based on known average mounting times in MEDEL, each 16 weeks period will allow the mounting of 600 to 700 specimens. Around 70% of the herbarium specimens (totaling now 70.000) are in the database and around 30% of them were collected before 1950 and can be considered historical relative to the timeline of botanical collection in Colombia. MEDEL was established in 1927 and is the oldest continuing operating herbarium in the country.


Total time: 10 months

Month 1: Tasks planning and hiring of students.
Months 2 to 5: Mounting backlog of historical specimens.
Months 6 to 9: Databasing specimens of Lamiales and restoration activities when needed.
Month 10: Project closing and report submission.

Referee 1:

Lauren Raz

Referee 2:

Rosa Ortiz-Gentry

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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