New & Noteworthy

Archive for September, 2016

23 Sep 2016

iDigBio Receives Additional Five Years of Support from NSF

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a five year grant to iDigBio to continue leading the national effort to digitize biodiversity collections and make them available online. The award of $15.5 million will continue the initiative, which is housed at the University of Florida and started in 2011. More than 64 million specimen records are now online as a result.

“There are probably a billion specimens in the U.S., but the information about them isn’t easily accessible,” said Larry Page, iDigBio director and ichthyology curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History. “If it’s online, you can find in seconds what it might have taken you weeks or even months to find before.”

Page said the project could double the number of specimen records in the database during the next five years.

“Some people think it’s going to slow down because we have the really big institutions in the database already, but most of the records are for plants, fungi, fossils and vertebrate groups,” Page said. “A lot of the really big collections are invertebrates, and I’m hoping the Florida Museum and other institutions with large insect and marine invertebrate collections start flooding us with specimen records.”

13 Sep 2016

Representatives Joyce and Pingree Receive USGS Coalition Leadership Award

Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) are the recipients of the 2016 USGS Coalition Leadership Award. The pair was honored at a Capitol Hill ceremony and public reception on September 13th in Washington, DC.

The Natural Science Collections Alliance is a member of the USGS Coalition.

“The USGS Coalition is pleased to recognize Representatives Joyce and Pingree for their support of the missions of the USGS and its efforts to advance the scientific fields that further our understanding of Earth’s living and non-living systems,” said Elizabeth Duffy, Co-Chair of the USGS Coalition.

“The U.S. Geological Survey has a unique capacity to deploy truly interdisciplinary teams of scientific experts,” said Julie Palakovich Carr, Co-Chair of the USGS Coalition and Public Policy Manager for the American Institute of Biological Sciences. “USGS research impacts the lives of each American every day through reduced risks from natural and human-induced hazards, assessments of water quality and other critical natural resources, improved ecosystem management, and accurate geospatial data and maps.”

Congressman Joyce is serving his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives and represents Ohio’s 14th congressional district, which borders Lake Erie. He serves on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, which oversees funding for the Department of the Interior. Joyce has been a leading voice in Congress for restoration of the Great Lakes.

“I am honored to be recognized by the USGS Coalition. As the Representative of Northeast Ohio, I have one of the country’s greatest natural resources in my back yard - Lake Erie,” said Representative Joyce. “The Great Lakes are the largest system of fresh water in the world. They need to be protected and preserved for generations to come. I applaud the USGS’ research efforts. Together, not only can we learn about the earth God gave us, but we can work to protect it.”

Representative Pingree is serving her fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Maine’s 1st congressional district. She serves on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. Pingree has been a strong advocate for issues related to coastal communities, including ocean acidification.

“The men and women of the USGS play a critical role in helping us understand the land we live on and the resources it contains. They warn us of threats to life and property and protect the environment and ecosystems of our country,” said Representative Pingree. “I’m honored to be recognized for my support of the Survey.”