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12,000 OSU HERBARIUM ALGAE VIEWABLE ONLINE

Seaweeds are often beautiful organisms, and now 12,000 specimens from the Oregon State University Herbarium algae collection are viewable online, with the support of the National Science Foundation. The OSU collection comprises approximately 15,000 specimens of marine and freshwater algae.  The marine algae (seaweeds) are mounted on sheets, and most of these have been imaged and databased. The freshwater algae are stored in packets, and these will be databased in the coming year. The OSU collection includes 1800 specimens recently transferred from the Portland State University Herbarium, and imaged as part of this project.

Specimens in the collection date from 1871 to 2004. However, the majority of the collections were made between 1947-1980 by  Prof. Harry K. Phinney, his wife Dr. Grace Scharf Phinney, and many of his students. After Phinney's retirement in 1983, the collection was infrequently used and mostly forgotten. Initial efforts to revive the collection were made 10 years ago, through the interest and dedication of Talia Sanfilippo, an OSU student. In 2012, the OSU Herbarium joined 48 other collections to create a national  Macroalgal Herbarium Consortium Portal. This effort was awarded an NSF grant in 2013, and over 300,000 algal specimens from 35 institutions are now available at macroalgae.org. The OSU algae imaging and databasing has been conducted over the past year by two talented and hard-working undergraduates, Heaven Roberts and Kali Woodard, with bioinformatics and technical support from Ben Legler at the University of Washington Herbarium and Burke Museum. The OSU specimen data is also available via the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria www.pnwherbaria.org/data/search.php.  

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