Research Topic

Integrative and Translational Uses of Herbarium Collections Across Time, Space and Species

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About this Research Topic

Herbarium collections provide a unique documentation of our biodiversity and natural history amassed over centuries of expeditions across the globe. They offer an easily accessible and verifiable source of specimens for a plethora of research questions and their value is currently being realized and explored. ...

Herbarium collections provide a unique documentation of our biodiversity and natural history amassed over centuries of expeditions across the globe. They offer an easily accessible and verifiable source of specimens for a plethora of research questions and their value is currently being realized and explored. Herbarium specimens are records in time and space. They represent several hundred years of collection history across the globe, including species rare and extinct or from now gone habitats, which provide possibilities simply not available using only modern samples. Collections present a time window into the past allowing exploration of changes in composition of floras, distribution of invasive weeds or threatened species, changes in flowering times, or leaf-out times in response to climate change, and can be used to model predictions of future trends.

This Research Topic aims to synthesize and inspire frontier integrative and translational research using herbarium collections to highlight their unharvested potential for addressing outstanding research questions and societal challenges. Reviews, Perspectives, and Original Research contributions emphasizing the use of herbarium collections may be considered. Integrative uses of herbarium collections with systematic and phylogenetic approaches to address topical questions are particularly encouraged.

As a Research Topic within the section Plant Systematics and Evolution, submissions may address the use of herbarium collections to:
- Complete the plant tree of life resolving difficult or orphaned lineages, revisiting forgotten non-model lineages, resolving species and population concepts, identifying drivers of diversification.
- Explore changing distributions or significant traits over time, space and species, of rare taxa, floristic composition, biogeography, invasive weeds, or domesticated plants.
- New translational uses of herbarium collections addressing, but not limited to, health, food, environmental and other societal challenges.
- Contributions documenting collecting efforts, cultural aspects of herbarium collections, or exploring citizen science, teaching or outreach using collections may also be accepted if clear research questions and relevance to the topic can be justified.


Keywords: Herbarium Collections; Plant Tree of Life; Uses of Herbaria


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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