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, 2022

280,436 Specimens Imaged

188,167 Specimens Transcribed

205,788 Specimens Georeferenced

Photos By: Frank Bungartz1,3, Margaret Oliver2

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GLOBAL News

  • WeDigBio Fall 2022 – Thank you!
    Thank you to everyone who participated in our GLOBAL WeDigBio events! Both virtual and in-person teams really turned out and made a huge impact for our project. Together you helped to transcribe data from over 2,700 specimens and add barcodes to over 6,000! Join us again next April! If you’re interested in helping out before then, consider joining our Friday

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  • Join us for Fall 2022 WeDigBio – October 14-16th!
    Dear community scientists! Be a part of a global effort to digitize centuries of data about life on Earth! Organisms may include ferns, fungi, mosses, lichens, 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 Friday, October 14th – Sunday,

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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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#Herbaria of Twitter, what are your oldest #specimens? We used to think ours was a 𝘏𝘢𝘮𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘴 𝘷𝘪𝘳𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘢𝘯𝘢 collected in Ohio in 1836, but yesterday a student found this 𝘛𝘩𝘶𝘪𝘥𝘪𝘶𝘮 𝘱𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘣𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘪 collected in Germany in 1819! #GlobalTCN #collections

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In 2022, we added ~7,200 specimens to the Herbarium in 2022. Over half of them were lichens that were digitized in collaboration with #GlobalTCN, and most of the remaining ~2,300 were vascular plants from staff, students, and researchers. 1/2

Join us this Friday, December 16th, for GLOBAL's last weekly virtual transcription workshop of 2022! Learn how to transcribe herbarium specimens and see mosses and lichens from around the world. RSVP at link in bio. #globalTCN #herbarium #specimens #collections #FlattenedFlora

We've made it to 𝘚𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘯𝘶𝘮 sp. (Splachnaceae); the poop mosses!!! This is a cool moss family b/c they grow on animal remains (like *ahem* poop or carcasses) & many of them use insects to spread their spores, which is super unique among seedless plants!
#GlobalTCN #moss

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Happy Halloween! Here are some creepy cryptograms to help you celebrate - new stories from The Hand Lens @NYBG! Great work by @Teesack and our whole #GlobalTCN #lichen & #bryophyte #digitization team! http://sweetgum.nybg.org/science/the-hand-lens/explore/narratives-details/?irn=7627

Join us this Friday, October 28th, for GLOBAL's weekly virtual transcription workshop! Learn how to transcribe herbarium specimens and see mosses from around the world. RSVP at link in bio. #globalTCN #herbarium #specimens #collections #FlattenedFlora