1.1 million plant specimens must be packed and moved to new premises, and a large amount will also be digitized in connection with the packing.

Herbarium GB moves 1.1 million plant specimens

1.1 million plant specimens must be packed, moved, frozen, moved again and finally unpacked. In addition, extensive digitization is taking place so that more people can take part in the material.

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Digitalisering och packning
Prior to the move to the new house "Natrium", large parts of Herbarium GB's collections are digitized and packed. 400,000 herbarium sheets are to be scanned in so that they can be more easily handled and distributed around the world.

Herbarium GB is a common research infrastructure at the University of Gothenburg, located at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences. It has a large collection of dried plants, fungi, algae etc. for comparative and evolutionary studies.
- The history of our herbarium dates to late 18th century. In 1926, the Botanical Garden took over the herbarium from the Göteborg museum. In 1961, when the University of Gothenburg established a botanical institute, the collections were transferred to this institute, says Claes Gustafsson who is the Curator of Herbarium GB.

Photo: Anna-Lena Lundqvist
Photo: Anna-Lena Lundqvist

Now it's time for the next step when Herbarium GB moves to "Natrium", the new house that will be shared with the remaining natural science colleagues at the University of Gothenburg. A completely new and modern herbarium has been built to be able to house the collections, which include approximately 1.1 million dried specimens from all corners of the world.
- Nearly 750 000 of these are vascular plants, whereas the remaining 350 000 specimens belong to bryophytes, algae, fungi, lichens, and slime molds, Claes Gustafsson continues.

All these 1.1 million specimens must now all be packed down gently, moved to Fryshuset to freeze (to remove any harmful insects that might have tagged along during the work), then moved again to Natrium and finally be unpacked and sorted. A huge amout of work to say the least!

They also take the opportunity to digitize parts of the collections. 400,000 herbarium sheets are being scanned, a work that is in full swing with the help of the Dutch company Pictuare, specialists in the field.
- They photograph, with the help of a conveyor belt solution, 3500-4000 herbarium sheets a day. So far, approximately 100,000 sheets of the total of 400,000 have been scanned and packed, says Claes Gustafsson.

In total, it is ultimately about 6,000 moving boxes that all must be folded, filled, and then packed on approximately 400 pallets. This means roughly 20 full truck loads that will move the irreplaceable collections around Gothenburg before they finally get to come home again, to their new home in Natrium.

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