Compared to vascular plants, cryptogams i.e. bryophytes and lichens have received considerably less attention in biological surveys, especially in tropical biomes. The number of cryptogams in Vietnamese data records in GBIF.org is underepresented considering the size of the country. This project will capitalize on existing data in the collection of over 15,000 bryophyte and lichen specimens in the Herbarium managed by the University of Science, Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City.
This unique opportunity to fill taxonomic and geographical gaps in the GBIF database will identify, clean and digitize existing data alongside the production of taxonomic articles based on the updated identification. An international team of experienced researchers will assist with the preliminary sorting and identification of specimens and will help to build the capacity for local researchers to provide more observations in the future via GBIF.org.
This project started with a meeting of stakeholders from the University of Science, VNUHCM and experts from HYO and TUR, Tokyo in April 2018 to agree and discuss methods of data transfer to GBIF. Progress has been made to update and identify specimens from records with a large part of the collection having been divided into duplicates, sent out and identified by expert recorders from various institutions that will improve the utility of the taxonomic studies and research. Work has also been made with digitizing and databasing specimens for the local Brahms database in PHH. More than 70% of the cryptogram collection at the PHH herbarium has been databased. The team will continue to update the database and carry out data cleaning in October in order to prepare and publish georeferenced species and occurrence data in GBIF.
With the final goal of the project to deliver species information from the PHH Herbarium to the researcher community through GBIF, an agreement has been made between project partners and the GBIF Finland node who will host the data. Currently, a trial dataset is being prepared for testing the data transfer. It is hoped that the experiences and outcome of these tests will help guide the final submission of the data. Once a specimen list has been finalised, the team has planned a written report and joint publications. This activity will finalize the project and utilize the scientific value of the Cryptogam collection in PHH and species occurrence data in Vietnam.