Small Collections Grant

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Digitization of native plant specimens from the Sierra de Huautla Biosphere Reserve (Morelos, Mexico) in the HUMO herbarium

Gabriel Flores Franco


Database, Digitally image

Cost: $



Conservation & Biodiversity Research Center (CIByC) of Morelos State University


The Sierra de Huautla Biosphere Reserve (REBIOSH) is a MAB-UNESCO federally protected area in Morelos, Mexico. It is dominated by tropical dry forests. The HUMO herbarium at the Conservation & Biodiversity Research Center (CIByC) of Morelos State University contains ≈ 40,000 mounted vascular plant specimens (75% are native). Our objective is to digitize the HUMO collection to enable better use of its taxonomic information. We request funds to acquire equipment to 1) digitize REBIOSH specimens, 2) construct a collection database, and 3) create an interactive map of REBIOSH collection sites.


The HUMO herbarium curator and four technicians, aided by five undergraduate students with interests in plant taxonomy will participate in 1) acquiring high definition, detail-oriented images of >3000 specimens from REBIOSH using a digital camera adapted to a light box via Ortery Photosimile 50 software. Each image will be tagged using HUMO´s specimen number and processed and housed in a PC and external hard drive. Personnel will also 2) construct an Access®-based collection database which will contain the following data (per specimen): collector and collection data (name, collection number, date), taxonomic data (family, genus, species), geographic data ( coordinates, altitude, country state, municipality, site name), species biological and ecological data (vegetation type, growth form, phenology), and ancillary data (common name, species use, and CITES, IUCN and Mexican Red List categorizations). They will also generate a REBIOSH-specific map showing collection sites related to land use type and human population sites. Information will eventually be housed in CIByC´s servers for increased use in academic and research activities. A summary of project findings will be generated for the general public.


The Project will be completed in 12 months. In month 1 equipment will be purchased, and student training will begin. In months 2-10 specimens will be digitized, and the database populated. The database will be backed up in hard and web-based drives periodically. In month 11 the database will undergo a final revision; the database will ultimately contain data for > 3,000 specimens. A REBIOSH-collection-site distribution map will be generated during month 12. At this time a project summary will also be generated for internal review. Materials generated from this project will be presented in academic events. After month 12 we plan to build a web-based tool and website where HUMO specimens can be observed and studied, and where we can offer specimen identification services to national and international users. Being one of the most important herbaria in Central Mexico, dedicated especially to REBIOSH, HUMO currently receives approximately 140 annual consultations.

Referee 1:

Gerardo Adolfo Salazar Chávez

Referee 2:

Jaime Jiménez Ramírez

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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