About CyberFlora Louisiana
a Virtual Herbarium for the State
In order to bring greater attention and value to the botanical resources available in Louisiana, curators from most of the 15 herbaria in the state met in 2006 to form a consortium of all Louisiana herbaria. By working together towards a goal of enhanced accessibility, all the herbaria would be able to contribute to a unified virtual herbarium for the state, resulting in many emergent properties from such a combined resource. Information from natural history collections with robust geo-referencing can provide invaluable details about patterns of species richness, historical patterns in biogeography, and management strategies for conservation biologists. All this information also will be of crucial importance in analyzing responses to global climate change, wetland loss, natural disasters, etc. Furthermore, rapidly developing techniques in molecular biology will allow much more widespread DNA characterization to contribute to taxonomic and phylogenetic corroboration of specimen identifications. Thus, information in Louisiana herbaria can become of greater value and relevance to a wider range of faculty and students, touching on areas such as ecology, biogeography, conservation, molecular genetics, etc. This is especially important for the smaller herbaria that are less well known and often under-utilized. It is also crucial for preventing herbaria from becoming neglected, orphaned, or lost.
With more than 1.1 million specimens in Louisiana’s herbaria, there are many challenges to imaging and databasing the entire consortium efficiently, economically, and quickly. Furthermore, the group desired to create not only a virtual herbarium for the state but also a network of expertise that included other state botanists and a central web portal of botanical resources for the general public. Accordingly, we proposed creating CyberFlora Louisiana as a framework for these goals.
"CyberFlora Louisiana" (2009-2012). National Science Foundation: Biological Resource Collections. Principal Investigators:
- Thomas Sasek, University of Louisiana at Monroe.
- Lowell Urbatsch, Louisiana State University.
- Steven Darwin, Tulane University.
- Rick Miller, Southeastern Louisiana University.
- Alex Lasseigne, Nicholls State University.
"CyberFlora Louisiana Outreach" (2009-2011). Louisiana Board of Regents: Enhancement Program. Principal Investigators:
- Thomas Sasek, Dennis Bell, and Joydeep Bhattacharjee, University of Louisiana at Monroe.