Yale Environment 360: Species Sleuths: Amateur Naturalists Spark a New Wave of Discovery. “Through close study of niche areas, some of these so-called amateurs amass decades of expertise rivaling or exceeding that of traditional taxonomic experts. Others are more typical collectors who dabble in discovery, with the help of online information and collaboration. Either way, in a poorly-funded academic field in the throes of a long-recognized workforce crisis, career scientists are increasingly welcoming to these enthusiastic volunteers.”
Chile Bio, translated from Spanish using Google Translator: New database published on crops genetically edited with CRISPR. “…researchers at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI; Ithaca, NY) have developed the Plant Genetic Editing Database (PGED) to be a central repository for efficiently managing data. of mutant plants, as well as to provide a platform to share data and mutants with the research community. The last hope is that PGED will lead to a more efficient use of resources by reducing unnecessary duplicate experiments and catalyzing collaborations between research institutions.”
The Nation (Thailand): Tree ‘fingerprinting’: a new weapon to defend forests . “A timeworn laboratory in Britain’s Royal Botanic Gardens may not seem like the obvious epicentre of efforts to halt international illegal logging. Beakers bubble away on a hotplate, while suspect guitars that have been sent by customs officials for testing sit on top of shelves lined with tattered old journals and reference books in a multitude of languages. But scientists at the Wood Anatomy Laboratory, part of the research centre at the gardens in Kew, southwest London, are working on a new global project to help precisely identify the origin and species of timber.”
University of Hawaii News: Century of plant data available through Lyon Arboretum interactive map. “A new geographic information system (GIS) device being employed at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Harold L. Lyon Arboretum allows users to locate plants on its property and view metadata gathered over 100 years. ‘This new interface opens up 100 years of Lyon’s collections history right onto your laptop,’ said Rakan Zahawi, Lyon Arboretum director. ‘It is a great tool for both researchers and avid plant enthusiasts, and we hope that it will get a lot of use.'”
Mashable: Watching plants grow is the best part of the slow web. “Back in 2012, writer Jack Chang coined something known as ‘the slow web.’ Similar to the slow foods movement, the idea of the slow web movement was to decelerate the pace in which readers consume content: ‘slow web’ consumers would read full length articles, keep open tabs to a minimum, and otherwise spend meaningful time on the internet, instead of just time.”
Indian Institute of Science: Launch of the ‘Digital Flora of Peninsular India’. “As you may be aware, the Centre for Ecological Sciences at IISc has a herbarium with a large collection of over 16000 species of plants from Karnataka, Western and Eastern Ghats and other parts of peninsular India. Over the past twelve years, Prof. Sankara Rao, a retired professor from the Biochemistry department of IISc and an expert botanist, and his small team of volunteers, have been digitizing the entire collection and produced a Digital Flora of Karnataka that is freely available online.” It looks like the collection officially launches March 2. The page I’m linking to has a really good PDF brochure with an overview of the new project.
Cornell: Botanical illustration pioneer goes from obscurity to online. “Dating back to 1826 and brimming with meticulous descriptions and vivid watercolor illustrations, Nancy Anne Kingsbury Wollstonecraft’s manuscript, ‘Specimens of the Plants and Fruits of the Island of Cuba,’ never saw print in her lifetime despite her attempts at publication. Nearly two centuries later, the lush life she captured can now be admired and downloaded from HathiTrust, where it was shared by Cornell University Library.”