One of the greatest threats to the health of North America’s Great Lakes is invasion by exotic species, several of which already have had catastrophic impacts on property values, the fisheries, shipping, and tourism industries, and continue to threaten the survival of native species and wetland ecosystems. Additional species have been placed on watch lists because of their potential to become aquatic invasives. This project will create a network of herbaria and zoology museums from among the Great Lakes states to better document the occurrence of these species in space and time by imaging and providing online access to the information on the specimens of the critical organisms. Several initiatives are already in place to alert citizens to the dangers of spreading aquatic invasives among our nation’s waterways, but this project will develop complementary scientific and educational tools for scientists, students, wildlife officers, teachers, and the public who have had little access to images or data derived directly from preserved specimens collected over the past three centuries. For this project, the Steere Herbarium will digitize approximately 100,000 specimens of plants from the sedge and sunflower families, which include a number of species that are native and invasive in the Great Lakes region.
More information: Great Lakes Invasives Network