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What's New in the Collections
Erica Clites (center) leads a tour to iDigBio participants. Photos by Helina Chin.
iDigBio Annual Conference at UC Berkeley
The Berkeley Natural History Museums hosted the second annual Digital Data in Biodiversity Research Conference (iDigBio Conference). Senior Museum Scientist Pat Holroyd was on the planning team with staff from the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, which welcomed over 240 participants from around the globe, coming together to discuss how best to manage and utilize natural history data. Through the EPICC project, UCMP is a partner and data contributor. Lisa White hosted a pre-conference workshop on "Engaging K-12 Audiences with Biodiversity Data through Advancing Digitization for Biodiversity Collections."
Top: Fossil Osmunda pinnules from the Eocene-Oligocene (34 million year-old) Badger's Nose
locality in the Warner Mts., Modoc Plateau, California (UCMP 393085), photo credit: Diane
Thematic Collections Network grant awarded Carl Rothfels, Cindy Looy and Diane M. Erwin, will lead the UCMP's and Jepson Herbaria's collaboration with 33 museums and herbaria from around the country to digitize ~1.6 million pteridophyte specimens (ferns and other spore-bearing vascular plants) over the next three years. The Pteridological Collections Consortium (PCC) project is one of the latest to be funded by NSF's "Advancing the Digitization of Biological Collections Thematic Collections Network" program (ADBC-TCN, NSF DBI-1802504). It will be the first such network to digitize fossils and extant natural history collections.
Top: Cristina Robins shows of a Desmostylus tooth during the San Jose Mercury news visit. Bottom: Laura Mackenzie works on a whale skull during the KPIX visit.
Calaveras Dam Updates
The prep lab and the Calaveras dam site project are now running at full speed and the fossils received in partnership with SFPUC are the most significant Bay Area fossils found in decades. Cristina Robins is supervising eight undergraduates, one graduate student, and one volunteer on this effort. Thus far, the team has discovered at least one new species of fossil baleen whale, over 20 other whale skulls in various states of preparation, and over 2,000 other fossil vertebrates, invertebrates, and paleobotanical specimens to sort, identify, prepare, accession, and catalog. It is quite an accomplishment as we mark the halfway point of the two-year project! The project has received a significant amount of press and after a front page feature in the San Jose Mercury News, a chain reaction of press stories followed during the spring semester. The Calaveras fossils and the UCMP prep lab have been featured on local news stations KPIX, KTVU, and NBC Bay Area and also received national coverage on CNN. Links to the news features can be found on our online newsletter at http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/about/ucmpnews/index.php