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Nation's plant database falling behind, survey shows
Stopping to smell the roses may be laudable, but more people need to be picking, preserving and cataloging them. Smelling doesn't build and maintain a rich and necessary documentation of the nation's biodiversity. A drop-off in collecting plants threatens the flora database that is the primary source for gardeners and extension agents, police and other scientists. The problem: Collecting local or in-state plant life is in steep decline, at a time when habitat is changing dramatically. (2004-06-07)

Italian natural history museums on the verge of collapse?
Are Italian natural history museums on the verge of collapse? A new study published in the open-access journal ZooKeys points out that these institutions are facing a critical situation and proposes an innovative solution in the face of a virtual structure acting as a 'metamuseum.' (2014-11-24)

Native Human Remains Returned To Bering Sea Island Home
Siberian Yup'ik Eskimos were in Fairbanks recently to pack and return the remains of 386 of their ancestors for reburial. This is the first repatriation of human remains returning to the St. Lawrence Island villages of Gambell and Savoonga, off the coastof Alaska in the Bering Sea (1996-10-17)

New $1.5 million NSF grant to track bee declines and pollination
A $1.5 million National Science Foundation multi-institutional grant -- co-led by Cornell entomologist Bryan Danforth -- will consolidate data from 10 natural history bee collections across the United States. (2010-07-29)

Types of fungi and lichens at the Herbarium of the University of Granada available on-line
An images collection and data about the most special fungi and lichens deposited at the Herbarium of the University of Granada, Spain, has been made accessible on the Internet. The provision of such dataset in standardized format through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility allows for the approachability by the global community. The study was published in the open-access Biodiversity Data Journal. (2015-07-13)

Critical collections
Harvard researchers are among the co-editors of a special issue of Philosophical Transactions B dedicated to exploring the creative ways in which researchers have made use of biological collections around the world and to advocating for their continued preservation. (2018-11-19)

New water-beetle species show biodiversity still undiscovered in at-risk South American habitats
Researchers from the University of Kansas have described three genera and 17 new species of water scavenger beetles from the Guiana and Brazilian Shield regions of South America. (2019-08-13)

As climate change sets in, plants and bees keep pace
An analysis of bee collection data over the past 130 years shows that spring arrives about 10 days earlier than in the 1880s, and bees and flowering plants have kept pace by arriving earlier in lock-step. (2011-12-12)

Scientists call for national science agenda for biodiversity collections
The Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) has developed a national agenda that leverages digital data in biodiversity collections for new uses. Informed by a series of workshops and stakeholder discussions, Extending US Biodiversity Collections to Promote Research and Education will stimulate new research endeavors, particularly in areas where biology intersects with other fields and engages students and the public. (2019-04-04)

UW-Madison joins Google's worldwide book digitization project
The University of Wisconsin-Madison and Google announced an agreement today to expand access to hundreds of thousands of public and historical books and documents from more than 7.2 million holdings at the UW-Madison libraries and the Wisconsin Historical Society Library. (2006-10-12)

New database features 710,000 natural history records from Canadian Museum of Nature
A new, free open-access database has opened the collections of Canada's national natural history museum, with 710,000 specimen records available at These cover about 22 percent of the museum's overall collection of plants, animals, fossils and minerals, which have been collected over more than 150 years. (2014-03-26)

Twenty-four new beetle species discovered in Australian rain forests
As many as twenty-four new species are added to a single genus of beetles. Originally from the rainforests of Queensland, Australia, most of the specimens have been sitting undescribed in various museum collections for more than ten years. Additionally, freshly collected specimens allowed DNA analysis, thus assisting their diagnosis. The new species are restricted to small areas which makes them vulnerable to changes of their habitat. The study is published in the open-access journal ZooKeys. (2016-01-21)

Wiley announces new agreement with JISC Collections
Wiley-Blackwell, the scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons Inc., and JISC Collections have successfully concluded a new three year NESLi2 agreement for the higher education and further education communities in the UK. (2011-10-20)

University of Illinois develops free, easy-to-use web tool kit for archivists
Archivists at the University of Illinois Library believe they have built a better tool kit. Their new online collections management program called Archon has more than a few attractive features -- not the least of which is that it was developed for (2008-02-19)

New butterfly species named for Field Museum's Emily Graslie
In recognition of the Field Museum's Chief Curiosity Correspondent Emily Graslie's outreach efforts, scientists have named a new species of butterfly in her honor: Wahydra graslieae. (2018-03-07)

NSF reaches out to the public on federal government-wide digital strategy
NSF is working to make agency data and services more useful and dynamic, key goals of the recent Digital Government Strategy, and is seeking the public's input to decide what information should be first in line for expanded openness. (2012-08-15)

Chronopolis Project launched to preserve at-risk digital information
The Chronopolis Digital Preservation Demonstration Project, one of the Library of Congress' latest efforts to collect and preserve at-risk digital information, has been officially launched as a multimember partnership to meet the archival needs of a wide range of cultural and social domains. (2008-04-14)

Oncotarget launches special collection on breast cancer
Breast Cancer Collection published in honor of breast cancer awareness. (2020-12-01)

Monster mystery solved
Tully monsters, bizarre aquatic animals that lived in what's now Illinois 307 million years ago, have defied categorization for decades -- until now. New research has shown that they're vertebrates: specifically, jawless fish. (2016-03-16)

Smithsonian hosts Polar Science Symposium to celebrate International Polar Year 2007-2008
The Smithsonian Institution will host a polar science symposium as one of the inaugural US contributions to celebrate the International Polar Year 2007-2008. (2007-04-26)

Scientists behind 'doomsday seed vault' ready the world's crops for climate change
As climate change is credited as one of the main drivers behind soaring food prices, the Global Crop Diversity Trust is undertaking a major effort to search crop collections -- from Azerbaijan to Nigeria -- for the traits that could arm agriculture against the impact of future changes. Traits, such as drought resistance in wheat, or salinity tolerance in potato, will become essential as crops around the world have to adapt to new climate conditions. (2008-09-17)

Two new species of yellow-shouldered bats endemic to the Neotropics
Lying forgotten in museum collections, two new species of yellow-shouldered bats have been unearthed by scientists at the American Museum of New York and the Field Museum of Natural History and described in the open-access journal ZooKeys. These two new additions to the genus Sturnira are part of a recent discovery of three bats hidden away in collections around the world, the third one still waiting to be officially announced. (2014-04-16)

Human connection to our nation's fisheries comes alive through oral history project
Voices from the Fisheries, an archive of oral histories of recreational and commercial fishermen and the communities and families that rely on them, documents the human experience with the nation's coastal, marine and Great Lakes environments and living marine resources. NOAA Fisheries social scientists have partnered with organizations around the country to create Voices as a clearinghouse for oral histories for the public and researchers and encourage the creation of new collections. (2008-12-16)

Adam Matthew launches vitally important research collection on early American history
Award-winning digital publisher Adam Matthew has today announced the launch of 'Colonial America' -- the complete CO5 files from The National Archives, UK, 1606-1822. (2015-09-09)

PeerJ PrePrints now free for all authors
PeerJ (an open access publisher of articles in the biological, life & medical sciences) announced that all authors can now make unlimited submissions to PeerJ PrePrints entirely for free. Previously authors without a PeerJ publication plan could only publish one free preprint per year and so this represents a significant new benefit for authors. (2013-11-11)

Wildly stronger sunflowers
Annually, diseases, weeds, and insects are estimated to cause more than $1.3 billion in losses for sunflower growers. To combat this, researchers are preserving the genetic diversity of wild sunflowers. Wild plants retain the genes needed to resist pests and survive in different environments. (2017-03-15)

Herbaria prove valuable in demonstrating long-term changes in plant populations
A new study published today in Botany demonstrates how herbaria can be valuable resources for studying the impact over time of large herbivores on perennial plant populations. (2017-01-19)

New book on alchemical art depicts the quest for the philospher's stone
Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) has just published a new book depicting and describing the largest collection of alchemical art in the world. Transmutations: Alchemy in Art, Selected Works from the Eddleman and Fisher Collections at the Chemical Heritage Foundation by Lawrence M. Principe and Lloyd DeWitt introduces readers to the search for the Philospher's Stone and the art inspired by that quixotic quest. (2002-11-17)

Storing vertebrates in the cloud
UC Berkeley is leading an NSF-funded effort to take information about the vertebrate collections in museums around the world and store it in (2011-08-23)

Artificial neural networks could power up curation of natural history collections
Fed with new knowledge for centuries, natural history collections contain critical data for many scientific endeavors. While recent efforts in mass digitization have already provided unprecedented insight by generating large datasets from these collections, a new pilot project -- one of the first of its kind -- suggests that the key to efficiently studying these data might lie in the new-age deep learning techniques. The research article is published in the open-access Biodiversity Data Journal. (2017-11-02)

A nonet of new plant species from Africa emphasizes the importance of herbaria in botany
Some collected 40 years ago, some as far back as a 100, nine new plant species from the custard apple genus Monanthotaxis have been recently discovered on dusty shelves and described in PhytoKeys to showcase the importance of herbaria in botany. (2016-08-30)

'Fake fin' discovery reveals new ichthyosaur species
An ichthyosaur first discovered in the 1970s but then dismissed and consigned to museum storerooms across the country has been re-examined and found to be a new species. (2017-10-10)

RIT students discover hidden 15th-century text on medieval manuscripts
Rochester Institute of Technology students discovered lost text on 15th-century manuscript leaves using an imaging system they developed as freshmen. By using ultraviolet-fluorescence imaging, the students revealed that a manuscript leaf held in RIT's Cary Graphic Arts Collection was actually a palimpsest, a manuscript on parchment with multiple layers of writing. (2020-11-19)

A boy for every girl? Not even close
In a perfect world, for every boy there would of course be a girl, but a new study shows that actual sex ratios can sometimes sway very far from that ideal. In fact, the male-to-female ratio of one tropical butterfly has shifted rapidly over time and space, driven by a parasite that specifically kills males of the species, reveals a report published online on Sept. 10 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. (2009-09-10)

New knowledge from old collections: DFG supports indexing and digitization of research-relevant objects
The project 'Development of Standards for the Photographic Documentation of Permanent Microscope Slide Mounts in Precarious Mounting Media' is just one of 12 projects at museums, universities and non-university institutes which the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft is supporting with the aim of electronically indexing research collections, digitizing the objects and making them accessible online. The projects focus on different object classes, including herbaria, a historical skeletal collection, old book covers and a collection of historical musical instruments. They are of interest to a variety of research communities. The 12 projects will receive a total of 4.3 million euros in funding. (2014-03-18)

1918 human influenza epidemic no longer linked to birds
The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History historic bird collections was critical in determining that the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed 20 million to 40 million people worldwide did not originate from birds, as previously thought. (2002-08-01)

Rutgers researchers 'rewrite the book' in quantum statistical physics
An important part of the decades-old assumption thought to be essential for quantum statistical physics is being challenged by researchers at Rutgers University and colleagues in Germany and Italy. The researchers show that it is not necessary to assume that large collections of atomic particles are in a random state in order to derive a mathematical formula that conveys that smaller collections of those particles are indeed random. (2006-02-09)

American Geosciences Institute Center for Geoscience Education and Public Understanding
Today, a national center focused on the geosciences launches the world's most comprehensive and up-to-date online clearinghouse for Earth and space science information and educational resources, ranging from high school curricula and classroom activities to video collections, career resources, and national research reports. (2013-10-16)

Climate change may disrupt butterfly flight seasons
The flight season timing of a wide variety of butterflies is responsive to temperature and could be altered by climate change, according to a UBC study that leverages more than a century's worth of museum and weather records. (2013-11-21)

Oregon team says life in Earth's soils may be older than believed
Way before trees or lichens evolved, soils on Earth were alive, as revealed by a close examination of microfossils in the desert of northwestern Australia, reports a team of University of Oregon researchers. (2016-11-17)

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