The Institute of Applied Science, together with the Discipline of Marine Studies (SAGEONS) and New Zealand’s Auckland War Memorial Museum, successfully obtained funding to the tune of FJD90,000 (€39,000) to mobilize natural history collection data housed at the South Pacific Regional Herbarium (SPRH) and USP’s Marine Collection. This data mobilization project will run for two years from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2023. The project is funded by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility’s (GBIF) Biodiversity Information for Development (BID) programme via the European Union.
The South Pacific Regional Herbarium serves USP’s twelve member countries and currently houses more than 80, 000 plant specimens from Fiji and the region since its establishment in 1933. The Marine Collection holds more than 20, 000 marine, estuarine and freshwater specimens also from Fiji and the region.
Collectively, it is expected that more than 55,000 specimen records will be published, focusing primarily on records from Fiji. The information from the specimen records will be accessible on the GBIF website and formally published as data papers. This will enable the growing knowledge pertaining to Fiji’s terrestrial and marine biodiversity to be available, accessible and useable by biodiversity practitioners. This increased visibility of biodiversity information will also foster its usefulness to inform conservation efforts of various taxa and their associated ecosystems. Students and early-career researchers will be trained and engaged in specimen identification and data capture through workshops held over the duration of the project.
The Curator of the SPRH, Marika Tuiwawa, is the project lead, and the core team members managing the data mobilization are Mereia Tabua from the Institute of Applied Science, Kelly Brown from the Discipline of Marine Studies and Dr. Yumiko Baba from Auckland War Memorial Museum. The Ministries of Forestry and Agriculture are also partners of the project.
To read more of what this project entails please visit this link