Coverage of digitization among biodiversity collections located in the global North is already good, whereas efforts in the global South are lagging and a clear divide is evident—despite the biological richness in the South and the threats posed by global change.
In this project, the team will contribute to closing this gap by digitizing specimens of mushrooms and lichens deposited in two herbaria—National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories (KATH) and Tribhuvan University (TUCH)—and one natural history museum in Nepal, while also updating national checklists.
The data produced in the digitization project will serve as the foundation of mycological knowledge of Nepal quantifying their availability at different deposition centres with complete metadata. Digitization will help researchers study the ecology, distribution, phenology of fungal organisms, and increase knowledge-sharing and interest-building among students and relevant user communities.
In July 2020 the project lead attended and successfully obtained the certification from the BIFA capacity enhancement workshop “Data Mobilization Workshop for Asia 2020”, and during the first half of the project also participated and presented virtually at the following events:
- In August 2020, as part of the GIIS Webinar series; highlighting the project under GBIF/BIFA framework and the importance for the data documentation and visualization.
- In November 2020, at the Mycological Association of Washington DC's monthly meeting through a live talk from Nepal; sharing his expertise on Nepalese fungi and also describing his recent mycological work with GBIF/BIFA and further plans including Ethnomycological Expedition in Nepal.
By midterm reporting the project team has also been able to bring additional data from a cofunded field trip in Jalthal, Jhapa and also publish their first dataset “Mushrooms Flora of Nepal at Natural History Museum” containing over 1,500 records.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the project team has had to adapt and make adjustments to the project’s implementation plans, however the work and activities of the project have continued, with additional datasets in preparation. See glimpses of the project activities at different collaborating institutions here.
In addition to the above and since midterm reporting, the project lead has also presented the research of the project and the designed mycological expedition in Nepal in another live talk, this time during the 23rd Annual San Diego Fungus Fair of the San Diego Mycological Society, held in February 2021.