Mellon grants benefit Academy specimen collection

August 21, 2008

PHILADELPHIA--The Academy of Natural Sciences today announced the receipt of two grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in connection with the museum's world-renowned specimen collection.

A $99,000 grant will fund the digitization of about 9,000 sheets of mostly Latin American and African type specimens of plants, some dating to before 1850. Online availability of specimen data and images will help researchers who lack access to a large research herbarium and to research-quality libraries.

Since its founding in 1812, the Academy, the oldest natural science research museum in the Americas, has been collecting plants from around the world and using them for research purposes. Because of the historical depth and breadth of the collection, the type collection is large and diverse. The Latin American and African plants comprise only about 25 percent of the Academy's herbarium of some 1.5 million specimens.

Besides plants, the Academy cares for another 15.5 million specimens of birds, mollusks, insects, fossils, and other animals, which form a vast reference library of life--both past and present. However, the variety of collections-care activities at the Academy and at similar museums are not enough to fully cover the expense of acquiring, organizing and caring for the specimens. The second Mellon grant, for $22,500, will fund a workshop involving some of the world's top natural history institutions to discuss new ways to support collections.

"Museums like the Academy give much to society, and we need to make sure that society gives back full value," said Academy President William Y. Brown, who is organizing the summit next year at the Academy. "Together we'll share ideas for finding and connecting to new markets to support these highly important collections."
-end-
Founded in 1812, The Academy of Natural Sciences is the oldest natural science research institution and museum in the Americas. Our mission is the encouragement and cultivation of the sciences.

The Academy is located at 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and until 5 p.m. on weekends. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for children ages 3-12, seniors, college students and military personnel, and free for children under 3 and members.There is a $2 fee for "Butterflies!"

Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Related Plants Articles from Brightsurf:

When plants attack: parasitic plants use ethylene as a host invasion signal
Researchers from Nara Institute of Science and Technology have found that parasitic plants use the plant hormone ethylene as a signal to invade host plants.

210 scientists highlight state of plants and fungi in Plants, People, Planet special issue
The Special Issue, 'Protecting and sustainably using the world's plants and fungi', brings together the research - from 210 scientists across 42 countries - behind the 2020 State of the World's Plants and Fungi report, also released today by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

New light for plants
Scientists from ITMO in collaboration with their colleagues from Tomsk Polytechnic University came up with an idea to create light sources from ceramics with the addition of chrome: the light from such lamps offers not just red but also infrared (IR) light, which is expected to have a positive effect on plants' growth.

How do plants forget?
The study now published in Nature Cell Biology reveals more information on the capacity of plants, identified as 'epigenetic memory,' which allows recording important information to, for example, remember prolonged cold in the winter to ensure they flower at the right time during the spring.

The revolt of the plants: The arctic melts when plants stop breathing
A joint research team from POSTECH and the University of Zurich identifies a physiologic mechanism in vegetation as cause for Artic warming.

How plants forget
New work published in Nature Cell Biology from an international team led by Dr.

Ordering in? Plants are way ahead of you
Dissolved carbon in soil can quench plants' ability to communicate with soil microbes, allowing plants to fine-tune their relationships with symbionts.

When good plants go bad
Conventional wisdom suggests that only introduced species can be considered invasive and that indigenous plant life cannot be classified as such because they belong within their native range.

How plants handle stress
Plants get stressed too. Drought or too much salt disrupt their physiology.

Can plants tell us something about longevity?
The oldest living organism on Earth is a plant, Methuselah a bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) (pictured below) that is over 5,000 years old.

Read More: Plants News and Plants Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.