The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded eight grants as part of the Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections (ADBC) program.  The program aims to increase accessibility of biological collections and associated data.  The latest round of funding will support three major grants and five smaller projects.

“The ADBC program continues to grow in the breadth of its collections, including fossils, and in the depth of additional information about each specimen,” says John Wingfield, NSF Assistant Director for Biological Sciences.

According to a press release from NSF, digital photos of specimens will be linked with related information, such as pathogens found on the specimens, stratigraphic information for fossils, and environmental variables at the collecting localities.

Three new Thematic Collections Networks (TCNs) will be funded.  There are seven existing TCNs.  The new TCNs are:

  • Fossil Insect Collaborative: A Deep-Time Approach to Studying Diversification and Response to Environmental Change
  • Developing a Centralized Digital Archive of Vouchered Animal Communication Signals
  • The Macroalgal Herbarium Consortium: Accessing 150 Years of Specimen Data to Understand Changes in the Marine/Aquatic Environment

Additionally, five new Partners to Existing Networks (PEN) grants were announced. These smaller grants will enhance existing TCNs by adding their collections to fill gaps identified in the original network proposals. Two new partner awards will focus on increasing the coverage of the Paleoniches TCN, which is focused on ages and localities not included in other TCNs.  Three other PENs will expand the Southwest Arthropod Network, add central Midwest specimens to the InvertNet TCN, and add two historically important collections to the lichen and bryophyte TCN.