Much of the infrastructure necessary to create LINNE exists as current taxonomic research programs and as biological collections in universities and museums throughout the U.S. However, these stand-alone programs lack the connectivity that permits rapid utilization of specimens and data, and lack ready access to powerful new technologies that reside in only a few specialized laboratories. LINNE will arm taxonomists with tools to overcome impediments by providing access to specimens, literature, data, instruments, and colleagues. With LINNE, taxonomic information will be readily available, facilities housing collections will be modernized to ensure long-term protection of resources, new generations of taxonomists will be educated and provide modern taxonomic revisions, diverse technical expertise will be incorporated into taxonomic research teams, and taxonomic information will be distributed in electronic form. LINNE will result in a quantitative leap forward in taxonomic research as a result of increased synergy.
Taxonomic research is necessarily specimen-based, and biological collections —
repositories of living, preserved, and dried specimens — are required for taxonomic
Collections are growing rapidly in response to the increased pace of exploration made urgent by the biodiversity crisis, and in response to the growth of molecular systematics and the need for archival storage of voucher specimens, tissues, and DNA.
Biological Collections Contain Unique Information
The vast amount of information in collections exists in no other form or place. Much of the information was obtained prior to modern development and constitutes an irreplaceable record of our natural heritage.
Biological Collections are Integral to Scientific Research and Education
Most collections are maintained at universities and museums and constitute an important component of research and education. The collections are necessary for a variety of scientific research — especially the study of biological diversity — and training of biologists.
Biological Collections Represent a Universal Investment
Biological collections are found in every state and have cost the nation billions of dollars and centuries of effort to amass. With a large number of biological collections, the U.S. enjoys a clear advantage in research and education requiring collection-based data.
DISTRIBUTION OF BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH COLLECTIONS IN THE U.S.
Much of the infrastructure necessary to create LINNE exists as taxonomic research programs and biological collections in universities and museums throughout the United States (as shown at left). However, these stand-alone programs lack the power of connectivity that permits rapid utilization of specimens and data, and lack ready access to powerful new technologies that reside in only a few specialized laboratories. Like the U.S. Interstate Highway System, LINNE has the potential to link all of the disparate information in these collections into a common, Internet-accessible cyberlaboratory.