University of Wyoming: UW’s Global Vegetation Project Develops Online Educational Materials

University of Wyoming: UW’s Global Vegetation Project Develops Online Educational Materials. “The Global Vegetation Project, started in 2020 by the University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute, recently published K-12 educational materials on its website. The Global Vegetation Project was developed to fill a need for more resources to teach vegetation ecology online. The vision for this project is to curate a global database of open access vegetation photos that can be used by educators around the world.”

From museum to laptop: Visual leaf library a new tool for identifying plants (PennState)

PennState: From museum to laptop: Visual leaf library a new tool for identifying plants. “Fossil plants reveal the evolution of green life on Earth, but the most abundant samples that are found — fossil leaves — are also the most challenging to identify. A large, open-access visual leaf library developed by a Penn State-led team provides a new resource to help scientists recognize and classify these leaves.”

Log Cabin Democrat: Arkansas plant health clinic’s updated plant disease image database now available

Log Cabin Democrat: Arkansas plant health clinic’s updated plant disease image database now available. “For Arkansas growers, gardeners, and homeowners, the ability to identify plant health issues is critical to the success of their crop. The Arkansas Plant Health Clinic, located in Fayetteville and supported by the Cooperative Extension Service, serves these growers by providing resources to help solve plant disease problems. The clinic’s Plant Disease Image Database, an online image library that lists hundreds of plant diseases, has been recently updated by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Information Technology department. The database is now available on mobile devices.”

Phys .org: Visually stunning tree of all known life unveiled online

Phys .org: Visually stunning tree of all known life unveiled online. “The OneZoom explorer… maps the connections between 2.2 million living species, the closest thing yet to a single view of all species known to science. The interactive tree of life allows users to zoom in to any species and explore its relationships with others, in a seamless visualisation on a single web page. The explorer also includes images of over 85,000 species, plus, where known, their vulnerability to extinction.”

Scienmag: Global database of plants reveals human activity biggest driver of homogenization of plant communities

Scienmag: Global database of plants reveals human activity biggest driver of homogenization of plant communities. “In a study published December 6 in Nature Communications researchers have compiled a dataset of over 200,000 plant species worldwide to demonstrate the extent to which species extinctions and non-native invasive plants reorganize plant communities in the Anthropocene, the current geological age dominated by human activity.”

UK Government: Historic Kew Gardens collection to go digital in major boost for climate change research

UK Government: Historic Kew Gardens collection to go digital in major boost for climate change research . “A £15 million investment to digitise the world’s largest collection of plant and fungal specimens will ‘revolutionise’ climate change research and help protect biodiversity for generations to come, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury announced today (4 November).”

The Hindu: Botanical Survey of India’s collection of rare paintings, dyes, fabrics and type specimens to go public

The Hindu: Botanical Survey of India’s collection of rare paintings, dyes, fabrics and type specimens to go public. “Apart from botanical paintings, the digital archive also displays rare natural dyes, fabrics and type specimens (the first collection that’s used for describing a plant). Each one of these rare holdings has its own story. Thomas Wardle, a Scottish businessman, whose business in silk dyes wasn’t doing well, visited the industrial section of the Indian Museum and, in one year, came up with about 3,500 samples of dye patterns extracted from 64 Indian plants. The 15 volumes of Wardle’s Specimen of Fabrics Dyed with Indian Dyes, published in 1886 and preserved with the BSI, has also been digitised.”

ABC News (Australia): Race to save frogs, quokkas, parrots and koalas from extinction helped by new threat database

ABC News (Australia): Race to save frogs, quokkas, parrots and koalas from extinction helped by new threat database . “Researchers across Australia have spent 18 months forming the database of threats forcing species to the brink of extinction. The list of more than 1,700 species was done to help wildlife warriors and organisations stop foreshadowed declines in flora and fauna populations, and even possible extinctions.”

University of Alabama at Birmingham: Plant AI project aims to bring food to tables and students into science

University of Alabama at Birmingham: Plant AI project aims to bring food to tables and students into science. “With a new four-year, $1 million-plus grant from the National Science Foundation, [Shahid] Mukhtar and his research partner and wife, Karolina Mukhtar, Ph.D., associate professor and associate chair in the biology department, are doing something big. The researchers are using machine learning and other high-tech approaches to identify fresh ways to squeeze extra growing power out of the world’s crops.”

In China’s blossoming live-streaming scene, new stars take root: Succulents (Washington Post)

Washington Post: In China’s blossoming live-streaming scene, new stars take root: Succulents. “The thick, fleshy plants have been growing in popularity in China for nearly a decade, but only recently collided with live-streaming in e-commerce, a $60 billion industry that got a massive boost during the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of people are logging on daily to admire these vegetating celebrities, oohing as chattering hosts turn and twirl them around, showing off blushes of new color, entire centimeters of growth, or — what a treat! — some velvety new leaves.”

Southeastern US herbaria digitize three million specimens, now freely available online (Phys .org)

Phys .org: Southeastern US herbaria digitize three million specimens, now freely available online. “A network of over 100 herbaria spread out across the southeastern United States recently completed the herculean task of fully digitizing more than three million specimens collected by botanists and naturalists over a span of 200 years…. In a new study published in the journal Applications in Plant Sciences, researchers involved in the project analyzed the rate at which specimens could be reliably photographed, digitized, and databased to assess how much similar efforts might cost in the future.”

Mississippi State University: MSU faculty member devises automated system to aid museums in collecting genetic data

Mississippi State University: MSU faculty member devises automated system to aid museums in collecting genetic data. “Ryan A. Folk, an assistant professor of biological sciences and herbarium curator at MSU, is using a $432,781 three-year National Science Foundation grant to automate the data collection process by using a combination of unique object identifiers, QR codes and citizen scientists, or non-biologists recruited to help with data acquisition.”

From the ashes: historical botanic photos destroyed in Cape Town fire resurrected (The Guardian)

The Guardian: From the ashes: historical botanic photos destroyed in Cape Town fire resurrected. “Luckily, after joining the university in 2000, [Professor Timm] Hoffman invested in the digitisation of the photographic archive. Although he is yet to muster the courage to go through the digital databases – ‘I’m still grieving,’ he says – he estimates that 30,000 images have been digitised and that he has at least one image for 90% of his most important sites. But only 10% of another collection of 35,000 slides had been digitised. ‘If we’d invested in bigger, faster scanners we could have finished by now,’ he laments. ‘But I’m also very proud that we digitised at all. Not many ecologists are focused on digital archives. No one else has a collection like this in Africa.’”

EurekAlert: A new site for banana-related research

EurekAlert: A new site for banana-related research. “MusaNet, the global collaborative network for Musa-related research, was created in 2011 to implement the Global Musa Strategy established with the banana research community. MusaNet is excited to announce the launch of a new website that collects and shares information on all aspects of banana, be it diversity, conservation or current threats.”