Georgia Southern University

Biology Professor Receives Grant

John Schenk

John Schenk, Ph.D.

John Schenk, Ph.D., curator of the Georgia Southern Herbarium in the Georgia Southern University Department of Biology, received notification that his National Science Foundation (NSF) Biological Research Collections grant has been funded in the amount of $280,798 to integrate uncatalogued plants into the Herbarium.

Schenk’s proposal is titled “Making a large impact on a small herbarium: Integration of un-accessioned and orphaned specimens to secure and promote wider use of the collection.”

A Herbarium houses libraries of botanical diversity that catalog plant species’ occurrences in the past and present, and they consequently serve as the foundation for biological science and science policy.

The Georgia Southern Herbarium is located in the Biological Sciences building, and houses 21,000 catalogued specimen representing 236 families, 1,511 genera and 5,258 species of plants. In addition to the catalogued specimen, the herbarium houses 26,000 uncatalogued specimen, which represents local plant diversity – including many endangered species.

By funding the proposal, the NSF recognizes the value of natural history collections, a goal that strongly overlaps with the University’s Department of Biology. The funded project will allow the Georgia Southern Herbarium to double its holdings over the next two years, a feat that is rarely accomplished in natural history collections. As the collections become catalogued, they will be accessible to students and researchers throughout the world.

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