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Abstract Detail

Recent Topics Posters

Wallace, Lisa [1], Hosseinalizadehnobarinezhad, Mahboubeh [2], Alford, Mac [3], Baghai-Riding, Nine Lucille [4], Fredrick, Megan [5], McCook, Lucile [6], Sullivan, Heather [5].

Digitization of Mississippi herbarium specimens aids in understanding plant diversity in the Southeast and improves K-12 education.

The Southeastern U.S. is well known for high levels of plant diversity, but availability of natural history collections and associated resources documenting this diversity has been limited for some areas. For example, no flora has been published for the state of Mississippi and a checklist produced more than 15 years ago was not based on an exhaustive review of herbarium specimens across the state. Missing data, such as these, result in an incomplete inventory of biodiversity for the Southeast and can impact inferences about ecological drivers of biodiversity. The Mississippi Herbarium Consortium is working towards improving the content of and access to herbaria around the state through active digitization of more than 200,000 specimen sheets and determination of georeferenced locales. Here, we present an update of these efforts.  Specimen data from this project are available through the SERNEC Symbiota project ( From the six Mississippi herbaria involved in this project, we have contributed >145,800 specimen images, skeletal or detailed label information for >160,600 records, and georeferenced locales for >55,200 specimens. The majority of specimens in this dataset were collected in Mississippi or elsewhere in the Southeast.  Additionally, some collections contain multiple records from a single locale, which may permit in-depth examination of plant community structure on a local scale. As an example of how this dataset improves on existing resources on plant diversity for the state, we conducted a comparison of species diversity in Cyperaceae (excluding Carex) based on specimen records in Mississippi herbaria, Flora of North America, USDA Plants, BONAP, and Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States.  In total, 266 species collected in Mississippi were found in herbarium records, compared to 184-229 species recorded for Mississippi in the other resources. Some of these differences are accounted for by synonyms, but some species were simply not included for Mississippi in these references.  Use of the specimens in this manner is aiding in completion of an updated checklist of plants for Mississippi. Through a partnership with the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, we have also developed a number of outreach projects, including a plant-themed workshop for K-12 teachers and plant ID cards showcasing notable species around Mississippi.  We have also been active in using the specimen database in classes we teach at our respective institutions.  We welcome use of the specimen data and images in the SERNEC portal and invite experts to contribute to on-going curation of the collections.

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1 - Mississippi State University, Biological Sciences, PO Box GY, Starkville, MS, 39762, United States
2 - Mississippi State University , Biological Sciences, Barr Ave, Mississippi State University, MS 39762, Starkville, Mississippi, 39762, United States
3 - University Of Southern Mississippi, Department Of Biological Sciences, 118 COLLEGE DRIVE #5018, HATTIESBURG, MS, 39406-0001, USA
4 - DELTA STATE UNIVERSITY, Division Of Biological & Physical Sciences, Caylor Hall Room 235, CLEVELAND, MS, 38733, USA
5 - Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, 2148 Riverside Drive, Jackson, MS, 39202, USA
6 - University Of Mississippi, Department Of Biology, PULLEN HERBARIUM, P.O. BOX 1848, UNIVERSITY, MS, 38677, USA

Plant Biodiversity.

Presentation Type: Recent Topics Poster
Session: P, Recent Topics Posters
Location: Exhibit Hall/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 1st, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PRT018
Abstract ID:1209
Candidate for Awards:None

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