New Expedition from the Ouachita Mountains

Just released is Arkansas’s largest transcription project to date: Herbaceous Plants of the Ouachita Mountains.  Please help us transcribe these specimens in the next few weeks.  The expedition is being released just in time for the Fall meeting of the Arkansas Native Plant Society in Mena, Arkansas, U.S.A. (Sept. 23-25, 2016, , which is being held in the heart of the Ouachita Mountains.  Researcher @tmarsico is giving a tutorial to this group about how they can become involved in the state’s herbarium specimen data transcriptions using Notes from Nature.  The beautiful and chlorophyll-less Indian pipe (cover photo for this expedition) was just photographed in flower last weekend in the Ouachita Mountains.  It is a great time of year to be exploring the outdoors and transcribing historical label data.  The Ouachita Mountains are an east-west running range of compressed, folded rock dominated by sandstone and shale.  The region is predominately pine-hardwood mixed forests, with mesic forests on the northern slopes of the mountains.  Rich seeps, shale glades, barrens, and scour-prairies also occur in this area that make botanical exploration a treat.

Thanks! And a new approach for using NfN in the classroom

Again, we are so thrilled to have completed another Arkansas transcription project (now our third).  The Delta and Crowley’s Ridge project is particularly meaningful to Researcher @tmarsico, as he has a graduate student working on assessing collection bias in this region in Arkansas.  The data from other institutions will help answer these research questions.  In other BIG news, @tmarsico was recently just awarded two National Science Foundation grants to improve the collections at Arkansas State University and to mentor scholarship students in a biodiversity program. Press releases and video.

These new grant projects will be huge for regional biodiversity research, student education, broadening participation, and outreach to the public. Affiliation with projects like this one on Notes from Nature helps to get the important data that will be used by these students.

Thanks again for all your help.

Also, be on the lookout for new Arkansas expeditions coming online as of today. There will be a new one each week for a while. In the name of the expedition there will be a date as we are testing out some new educational approach with these new expeditions. Please feel free to check out these expeditions, but if you are planning to do lots of transcriptions over the next week, it might best to try one of the other herbarium expeditions so that the Arkansas State University students will be able to complete their assignments. The goal here is for the students to study the specimens of the species they are seeing each week and learning something about their distribution and ecology as they transcribe labels.  In other words, Notes from Nature is being set up as a targeted study tool for the students in his class.

Completed Expedition: Tiger Beetles 2

Once again, thank you to all the NfN volunteers out there that contributed to our Tiger Beetles 2 expedition. Although, it was a small expedition, it has allowed us to complete the digitization of all our Tiger Beetle specimens for which we have images.

We’ll now shift focus to other groups within the Carabidae (Ground beetles), beginning with the subfamily Trechinae, which includes the hyper diverse ground beetle genus called Bembidion.

Keep an eye out for these new expeditions the first of which will be posted in the next few days.

–Bryan Brunet, PhD

Collections Management Advisor (Natural Sciences), University of Alberta Museums, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Burn through Elderberry and ViBurnUm

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium once again seeks the aid of Citizen Scientists. We’d like you to join us for an Expedition through the Adoxaceae (moschatel) family .

While the Adoxaceae has around five genera within its family worldwide, only two – Sambucus and Viburnum — are native to the Southeastern United States.

The genus Sambucus, commonly known as Elderberry, are shrubs that have beautiful, deep colored berries ranging from the rare white and yellow to the more common red, black and blue black. These berries are preceded in the spring by small, dainty flowers. Not only is Elderberry lovely in appearance, but it is also used in wines, jams and syrups!

The genus Viburnum, like Sambucus, has berries, but most species are not edible by people. Viburnum is a garden favorite for its spring blooming flowers, vibrant fall foliage, and fruits relished by wildlife. The coolness factor for Viburnum is elevated when one realizes that one common name, Arrowwood, is not a fiction. Viburnum twigs make very sturdy arrow shafts!

Please help us map these shrubs across the Southeastern United States, and thank you for your company on our Expedition.

New Badges: Miniature Lives Magnified

To go alongside the launch of the new expedition group Miniature Lives Magnified, we have a whole new set of badges for you to collect.

Transcribe 5 microscope slides and earn the ‘5x zoom’ badge.


Transcribe 50 microscope slides for the ‘50x zoom’ badge.


And become a microscopy master by transcribing 150 microscope slides for the ‘150x zoom’ badge.



A big thanks to Jordan, from Zooniverse, for the artwork.  We hope you love them as much as we do.

Don’t forget to check your Field Book, to see what progress your making on collecting badges and transcribing specimens.

I’m challenging myself to get to the ’50x zoom’ badge today.

Jade (Natural History Museum, London).

New herbarium expedition: Pollinator Plants of Virginia, U.S.A.

Welcome to a new Notes from Nature Project and a series of upcoming Expeditions: Pollinator Plants of Virginia. Pollinator populations and their overall health have declined in recent decades. While much current research is necessarily focused on the health of non-native, domesticated honey-bees and agricultural productivity, thousands of other invertebrate pollinators such as bumble-bees, small solitary bees, butterflies and moths are in need of help, too. In order for researchers to find these small creatures in the wild to monitor their population sizes or to test them for diseases, they must first locate the food plants that are preferred by each pollinator and wait for their research subjects to appear. Many native pollinator species will consume the pollen or nectar of very few plant species; this very choosy feeding behavior is called oligolecty. It also means that these species can die out if their food plants disappear. In this project, we have assembled herbarium specimens from over 100 plant genera that are identified by The Xerces Society as the most important pollinator host-plants in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. By transcribing these herbarium records, you help us develop very fine scale maps of the plants’ locations and flowering times, which can be used by pollinator researchers to find their quarry.


Ant plants II complete

Thanks again, fellow natural historians! You digitized nearly 1,400 specimens of Virginian ant-dispersed plant species between Expedition I and II and closed out the relevant holdings from the Ted R. Bradley Herbarium at George Mason University  The Ant Plants theme is going to rest for a bit as we assemble more ant plant sheets from other herbaria. But, please do not despair. Other herbarium specimens from Virginia will be debuting under a new and different theme – Native Plants for Native Pollinators – stay tuned!

%d bloggers like this: