NSF Awards Fifth Round of ADBC Grants to Enhance America's Biodiversity Collections

Release Date: 
Friday, August 21, 2015


Alex Kuhn (of the University of Illinois) instructs Patty Kaishian (of Syracuse University) on how to enter label data from microfungi specimens. Their work is part of the Microfungi Collections Consortium, funded through the ADBC program. Credit: Andrew N. Miller, Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois


NSF has announced the fifth round of awards through the Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) program. There are seven new awards, totaling more than $5.8 million and incorporating the efforts of scientists from nearly 50 institutions across the United States.

"ADBC funds two types of projects: Thematic Collections Networks (TCNs), and Partners to Existing Networks (PEN).

TCNs focus on "grand challenge" questions in biodiversity, and facilitate research opportunities as data becomes increasingly available. Two TCNs were awarded in this ADBC round. The Microfungi Collections Consortium brings together 38 institutions in 31 states to digitize their microfungi records, spurring new research and insights into these important organisms. The Consortium will digitize specimen descriptions, illustrations and annotation notes for more than 1.2 million North American microfungi specimens. The principal investigator on the award is Andrew Miller of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The second TCN focuses on the fossil record of marine invertebrate communities in the Eastern Pacific. Starting from the Cenozoic period--which began about 66 million years ago, shortly after the extinction of the dinosaurs--this fossil record is especially rich. Yet most specimens aren't digitized, and are therefore unavailable for large, coordinated study.

This TCN--a partnership of seven primary institutions and one federal agency, the Smithsonian Institution--will capture this fossil record, providing invaluable data for understanding how organisms responded to ecological and environmental changes: knowledge to help scientists better understand and predict how today's marine biodiversity might be impacted by climate change. The principal investigator on the award is Charles Marshall of the University of California, Berkeley.

Both TCNs also provide graduate and undergraduate training opportunities, and outreach to K-12 educators, students and the public."

Read more by visiting NSF's original press release.