Welcome to the GLOBAL Bryophyte & Lichen TCN Project Website!

“Building a Global Consortium of Bryophytes and Lichens: Keystones of Cryptobiotic Communities,” also known as the GLOBAL Bryophyte & Lichen Thematic Collections Network (TCN), is a collaboration of 25 universities, museums, and gardens located across the United States and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This project will integrate information about bryophytes and lichens, with each other and with their commensal organisms, on a worldwide scale. The GLOBAL herbaria will image and digitize almost 1.2 million bryophyte and lichen herbarium specimens while providing students with professional training in digitization and collections management. Imaging the physical specimens of these organisms and integrating data from comparative genomics, nucleotide sequence data, and other resources is unprecedented on this scale. Digitized data will be shared freely online, making these specimens available to researchers, teachers, students, and communities across the world.

Bryophytes and lichens are functionally related as the main hosts for cryptobiotic communities forming minute “forests” that provide a matrix of habitats for many microscopic organisms, including tardigrades, mites, rotifers, micro-mollusks, microalgae, microfungi, and prokaryotes. These communities have global relevance and perform essential functions on our planet, for example, the biological soil crusts that harbor these communities form a “living skin” covering approximately 12% of Earth’s terrestrial surface.

Photos By: Laura Briscoe2,6,11, Jessica Budke4,8,13,15, Frank Bungartz1,3,7,10,16, Patrick Sweeney5,12,17, Todd Wildhelm9,14

GLOBAL Progress *As of March 31, 2022

197,456 Specimens Imaged

128,799 Specimens Transcribed

141,642 Specimens Georeferenced

Photos By: Frank Bungartz1,3, Margaret Oliver2

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  • Join us for GLOBAL WeDigBio – April 7th, 9th, and 10th!
    Be a part of a global effort to digitize centuries of data about life on Earth! Organisms may include ferns, fungi, mosses, insects, and mammals. Participants will have an opportunity to meet scientists and join in behind-the-scenes tours or talks about the significance of the scientific collections! WeDigBio will be held online daily from Thursday, April 7th, Saturday, April 9th,

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  • GLOBAL Transcription Event – February 18
    Thank you so much to everyone who participated in our Feb. 11th GLOBAL transcription event! We hope you enjoyed learning more about bryophytes, herbaria, and collection digitization. Together you helped to transcribe 200 specimen records! If you missed out or couldn’t attend our session but are still interested in learning about transcription or more about the GLOBAL project, please click

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  • GLOBAL Transcription Event – February 11
    Join us online for a virtual transcription event on Zoom on Friday, February 11th from 2-3pm EST! This week we will focus on transcribing bryophyte specimen label data from the University of Tennessee Herbarium (UTK) collections using online and computer tools. To register for this virtual event, please click here. We are hoping to make this a recurring event in the future so stay tuned

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  • WeDigBio Fall 2021 – October 15 – 16, 2021 – COMPLETED!
    Thank you to all of our amazing WeDigBio volunteers! Over 80 people participated during our two GLOBAL days and more than 200 assisted throughout the Field Museum’s four-day event. Together these volunteers helped us to transcribe over 6,000 bryophyte and lichen specimens! The WeDigBio event included tours of collections, presentations from scientists and students, and a lot of transcription! In

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  • GLOBAL at WeDigBio 2021 – October 15 & 16
    Scientists from the GLOBAL Bryophyte & Lichen Thematic Collections Network (TCN) and around the world need your help!  Join us in transcribing scientific label data from our collections using online tools. GLOBAL Bryophyte & Lichen TCN WeDigBio events will be held online daily from Friday, October 15th–Saturday, October 16th. To register for this virtual event, please click this link tinyurl.com/WeDigBioGlobal

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