Botanists Gather at TMAG

HerbariumThis week the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is proud to be hosting the annual workshops of two Australasia-wide professional botanical associations, the Managers of Australasian Herbarium Collections (MAHC) and the Herbarium Information Systems Committee (HISCOM).

MAHC represents the Managers of Australasian Herbarium Collections, and brings together the regional experts who care for the nation's more than six million herbarium specimens.

These specimens represent the collective, verifiable knowledge of the Australasian flora: what species are present, what they look like in all their forms, where they occur, when they occurred there, who collected them and so on.

HISCOM represents the Herbarium Information Systems Committee, which is a world leader in developing standard methods for collecting, storing, exchanging and delivering the information encompassed in the specimens.

TMAG's Tasmanian Herbarium is a key contributor to global knowledge on Tasmania's flora. It is involved in a range of national and international projects such as the Australian Virtual Herbarium (AVH), the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), and completes the picture for the whole of Australasia.

The 300,000-odd specimens in TMAG's collections are the single, most comprehensive collection of Tasmania's unique flora.

A key challenge for all collecting institutions is to improve security of specimens and access to the knowledge they encompass.

Tasmania's collections are of world significance, and hence these two key bodies have gathered in Hobart.

During the week, delegates will exchange ideas on collection management, and advance the goal of interlinking these vast collections digitally so that their contents can be brought easily to all.