The Consortium of California Herbaria (CCH) reached a landmark this week; over 30 participating herbaria are now serving over 2 million specimen records through a single portal! With collections dating back to the early 1800s, the specimens and their data allow researchers unprecedented access to a wealth of information. Still used in traditional ways as a resource for identifying plants, establishing their geographic distributions, and describing new species, herbaria have also been participating in cutting-edge studies ranging from evolution and local patterns of diversity to those tracking invasive species, managing natural resources, and modeling global climate change.
The CCH was developed in 2003 with support from the California Digital Library to database botanical collections from University of California herbaria. That work was conducted by Richard Moe, software architect and technical editor, Staci Markos, administrative chair, and, Brent Mishler, professor and director of the University and Jepson Herbaria. Today, the CCH data and software are managed by David Baxter, technical editor, and it has become a truly collaborative network of herbaria from throughout the state (and beyond).
By collating a tremendous amount of information, the CCH has revolutionized the way label data from specimens can be accessed. Comparative research that was not previously practicable is now possible and the results are astounding. The CCH has been cited in over 90 scholarly publications:
To learn more about the CCH and participating institutions, please visit: http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/consortium/about.html.
News of the CCH's milestone was also featured in the Newsroom of the UC Natural Reserve System and by the California Digial Library: