University Presentation Showcase: Faculty Poster Gallery

 

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Creation Date

Spring 2017

Department

Biological Sciences

Description

College-level plant diversity courses often involve a collection project, which is designed to help students learn to correctly identify, document, and preserve specimens for scientific study. While these projects are invaluable teaching tools, the specimens and associated data are often not incorporated into herbaria or online biodiversity data aggregators due to lack of quality, herbarium backlog, or both. Furthermore, students are not exposed to the emerging online citizen science initiatives and herbarium databases of our information-rich digital age. Here we present a new project and associated website (http://collectionseducation.org) designed to enhance traditional collection projects that can easily be incorporated into any plant diversity course. The project integrates traditional taxonomic practices, ongoing citizen science initiatives, and digital-age curatorial skills, with the final goal of producing archival-quality, research-ready plant observations and collections that will become part of our national biodiversity archive. Due to the importance of collections in hand and online, this project emphasizes the skills and best practices required to facilitate downstream applications of student collections and documentation of plant biodiversity. Over the past two years, we have implemented this project in 11 courses taught at four American universities. This poster will present preliminary data analysis from pre- and post-course student responses, which provides an assessment of the project’s value not only to the biodiversity collections community, but to the students’ learning.

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