LEGUME SYSTEMATICS INTERNSHIP
PROJECT TITLE: Legume collections management, annotation, and databasing
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The legume (bean or pea) plant family is the 3rd largest plant family in the world with nearly 20,000 species. Our collections at the U.S. National Herbarium, National Museum of Natural History, are extensive and come from around the world. Collections include ~225,000 herbarium specimens (pressed plants mounted on archival paper for long term curation and scientific use) along with a sizable (~5000) collection of dried leaf material in silica gel used for DNA research. Recently, the Smithsonian Institution provided funds to photograph the entire legume collection for databasing and eventual placement online for access to researchers around the globe. The legumes are in need of some organizing prior to digitization and we need some interns to help us make the collection more current in terms of taxonomic classification. This work will entail working with online databases to determine current synonymy within legume scientific names, creating and mounting labels on specimens that need updating, organizing specimens within the collection, and helping to database and organize DNA leaf material collections. This work will significantly contribute to the curation and management of the legume collections at SI and provide a lasting impact on the scientific collections that are vital to our museum.
QUALIFICATIONS: A minimum commitment of two months is required. Hours are flexible. Ability to work independently and as part of a team, good skills at internet database use, proficiency in excel and Microsoft word required. Coursework or sufficient knowledge in biological concepts such as plant biology, classification, taxonomy, nomenclature, or museum studies preferred. Good organizational skills, attention to detail, and ability to properly handle delicate specimens required.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Interns will learn basic curatorial standards and techniques common to plant museum curation practices, plant classification, plant biodiversity, and database management, and will become acquainted with many species that make up the diversity of the bean family. In addition, they may assist in revisionary taxonomic work in the legumes and learn techniques and methods of systematic botanical research.
AWARD PACKAGE: none
CONTACT NAME: Dr. Ashley N. Egan