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 September 30, 2021

84,678 Specimens Imaged

67,440 Specimens Transcribed

92,051 Specimens Georeferenced

Photos By: Frank Bungartz1,3, Margaret Oliver2

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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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  • Happy Anniversary, GLOBAL!
    September 2021 marks one year since the start of our GLOBAL TCN project. This same month in 2020 saw a virtual kick-off, with a slow and staggered start under significant COVID-19 restrictions. Most collaborating institutions had limited to no access to their collections and many student workers were away from campus studying virtually. In spite of these challenges, the GLOBAL

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  • Sharing GLOBAL at BL2021
    Today marks the start of the BL2021 Online Conference: Bryophytes, lichens, and northern ecosystems in a changing world, bringing together four major bryological, lichenological and botanical societies: the International Association of Bryologists (IAB), the American Bryological and Lichenological Society (ABLS), the Canadian Botanical Association (CBA-ABC) and the Société québécoise de bryologie (SQB). The conference runs from July 6-9 and seeks to address diverse topics including “climate

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  • Going GLOBAL
    In 2011, the North American Lichens and Bryophytes: Sensitive Indicators of Environmental Quality and Change (LBCC) TCN began work to digitize bryophyte and lichen specimens collected in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The project grew to include over 100 institutions and posted 5 million specimens on public data portals for Bryophytes (CNABH) and Lichens (CNALH). North America is only one

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