Smithsonian Insider: See thousands of orchids in incredible detail in the Smithsonian’s newly digitized collection. “More than 8,000 living specimens in the Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection have been digitized and are now available to see and study from anywhere in the world. The Smithsonian’s Mass Digitization Program, in association with the National Collections Program, started photographing the plants in December 2017 and recently put the complete collection online.”
National Parks Conservation Association: Eliminating Species Act: Senate Legislation Threatens Wildlife and Wild Lands. “Senator John Barrasso hosted a hearing today in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) on his draft Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018 legislation. The draft bill proposes to radically weaken the Endangered Species Act, which has been the nation’s most effective law protecting wildlife in danger of extinction. The legislation undermines reliance on best available science and reduces public involvement in the process of adding ESA protections to species. The more than 500 plant and animal species with habitat in our national parks are chronicled in a new online database, launched this week by National Parks Conservation Association.”
Merry Jane: Senate Committee Approves $500,000 in Funding for National Database of Hemp Genetics. “If a handful of U.S. Senators have their way, a treasure trove of cannabis seeds could soon be on its way to the federal government. According to a report from cannabis advocate and Forbes contributor Tom Angell, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted late last week to advance a funding plan for a national database of hemp genetics, hoping to house a stockpile of the controversial plant in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Plant Genetics Research Unit in Columbia, Missouri.”
IFLScience: How Twitter Helped Find, And Possibly Save, An Endangered Plant. “There’s nothing Internet users like better than correcting an expert they think is wrong. So when botanist Professor Chris Martine of Bucknell University put the wrong name on a plant he’d photographed, it got a swift response. In the end, it led to the discovery of an unexpected population of one of America’s rarest plants, and a chance to protect something that otherwise might have been lost.”
Times of Oman: Research centre collects data on over 7,000 species native to Oman. “The Oman Animal and Plant Genetic Resources Centre (OAPGRC) said it gathered data on at least 7,303 species native to Oman. The research body revealed the final number of species was actually higher and the numbers were still being collated…. The data collated by the organisation includes 1,400 Omani plant species, 2,600 animals, 2,500 marine species and 803 species of fungi and bacteria.”
Popular Science: Scientists want YOU to help them study amphibious lil plants. “Kalman Strauss is a 16-year-old high school sophomore in Chicago. He has been fascinated by bryophytes — eyelash-sized plants, such as mosses, liverworts, and hornworts — since he discovered them at age 12 while reading a botany textbook…. So he was ecstatic upon hearing he could become a citizen scientist for the Field Museum in Chicago and participate in an ongoing study focused on these tiny plants — specifically liverworts — to learn more about the impact of climate change. “
The Hindu: A knowledge hub for medicinal plants. “The use of Indian medicinal plants for drug discovery and therapeutics just received a boost. A database of such plants has been built by a Chennai-based team led by Areejit Samal of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences. By documenting 1,742 Indian medicinal plants and 9,596 chemicals that plants use to thrive and ward off threats (phytochemicals), this database has the distinction of being the largest so far. This is a first step towards validating and developing traditional systems of medicine that use plant extracts.” I could not find the URL of the database in the article. IMPPAT is available here – https://cb.imsc.res.in/imppat/ .