UKOTs Programme achieves herbarium specimen digitisation milestone
By: Martin Hamilton - 21/12/2010
Martin Hamilton from Kew's UK Overseas Territories team reports on the latest news about the UKOTs Programme specimen digitisation activities.
This month the team surpassed the 10,000th scan of herbarium specimens! This is a major achievement for all staff and volunteers involved and makes a significant contribution to Kew's aims.
One of the major tasks that our volunteers have undertaken is the scanning of historic herbarium specimens held at Kew from the UK Overseas Territories. These plant specimens are scanned so the images can be made available electronically along with the data from the specimen labels (collectively known as specimen digitisation). Once digitised, the specimen data is added to the UKOTs Online Herbarium. This archive allows UKOTs partners and other conservation scientists around the world to access Kew's historical reference collections.
Left: UKOTs volunteers scanning herbarium specimens; Right: detail of a herbarium specimen. (Image: RBG Kew)
The UKOTs Programme Volunteers started in August 2005 with a few dedicated people coming to volunteer on Wednesday evenings after finishing work in the Gardens. This small group consisted of members of horticulture staff and students that wanted to assist the UKOTs Programme and learn about the Herbarium in the process. Over the past 5 years, volunteering has expanded from that original weekly meeting of staff, to a group that includes many daytime volunteers – some of them giving 3 days per week!
UKOTs team and volunteers visiting Wakehurst (Image: RBG Kew)
We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who has been involved in the UKOTs Programme over the past 5 years, in particular for all their hard work and commitment.
- Martin -
UKOTs bloggers (left to right): Sara Bárrios, Pat Griggs, Colin Clubbe, Marcella Corcoran, Tom Heller, Martin Hamilton.
Using modern plant specimens collected in the field and historic specimens held in Kew’s Herbarium, together with detailed habitat descriptions and other field information, we are documenting the plant diversity of the UKOTs. We are making this information accessible via the UKOTs Online Herbarium. This resource, together with the field research, enables us to undertake conservation assessments, produce Red Lists of threatened species, and rank potentially invasive species – all of which underpin the development of management plans to protect the UKOTs’ plant heritage.
The UKOTs bloggers are:
- Colin Clubbe (Head of UKOTs and Conservation Training)
- Martin Hamilton (UKOTs Programme Co-ordinator)
- Marcella Corcoran (UKOTs Programme Officer – Horticultural Liaison)
- Sara Bárrios (UKOTs Programme Officer – GSPC Targets 1&2 OTEP Project)
- Pat Griggs (UKOTs Public Engagement Officer)
- Tom Heller (UKOTs Millennium Seed Bank Officer)
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