Small Collections Grant

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Saving an at-risk collection, Step 1. Databasing collections for transfer from MONT to DBG

Cathy Cripps, PhD


Database, Ship

Cost: $


IH Code

Montana State University


The fungal portion of the MONT herbarium is at risk. It is housed in my lab, and will not be supported on my retirement. It is comprised of:
A. 9,000 historical collections of microfungi dating from 1897, most of which will eventually go to the NYBG.
B. 4,000 Montana and Arctic-alpine collections of macrofungi partially generated from NSF grant 9972120, which will eventually go to DBG.
For this proposal, the objective is to: database the 4,000 specimens in a format appropriate for Denver Botanic Garden. If resources allow, we will initiate re-labeling and boxing specimens.


The urgency is that I currently have an advanced undergraduate student in my lab interested in herbarium science. She will have time in the next 2 or 3 semesters, prior to my retirement, to help me to make improvements to the current collection. This first consists of databasing the set of 4,000 western collections. DBG has agreed to house these collections and has provided a database format for us to follow. Currently the collections are not in a database. DBG will eventually digitize these specimens and make them available for use. DBG is part of the Mycoportal project, and all of their other collections are digitized and available online. They are quickly becoming the regional repository for fungi. If databasing is completed in the time period allotted, we will initiate making new labels appropriate for DBG and placing specimens in boxes appropriate for DBG. Specimens are currently in packets.
This is a timely opportunity that may not come my way again, given that students typically are not interested herbarium science.


It appears that funding would commence in March. Prior to this time, I would set up the database for specimens destined for DBG. Training for my student Olivia Anderson could also begin prior to this time as I have a small amount of teaching funds available. If funded, the time schedule would be as follows:
1. March to June: Specimen information would be added to database by my student. Financial support is necessary for her labor.
2. July-August: I would provide missing data for specimens, as to GPS, complete locations, etc. No funding required for myself.
3. September-February: My student would continue adding specimen information to database. Funding is necessary to support her. If this task is completed, we will start making new labels and re-boxing specimens.
Report completed to Taxon.

Referee 1:

Andrew W. Wilson

Referee 2:

Referee name

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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