What is SERNEC?
233 Partner Herbaria in 13 states
SERNEC (SouthEast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections) is a consortium of 233 herbaria in 13 states in the Southeast USA. SERNEC supplies accurate and accessible biodiversity information maintained locally, and available to all. This is achieved through a digital archive of herbarium specimens and collection information. These data provide a greater understanding of one of the most botanically diverse regions of the earth and lead to better botanical research, better management planning, and a more well-informed public.
We organized in 2006 and were supported for five years by the National Science Foundation as a Research Coordination Network (NSF RCN #0542320). Over this period of time, we engaged 165 herbaria scientists in workshops and training sessions to mobilize the community and promulgate best practices in biodiversity informatics science. We focused our efforts at building state level structure, by identifying state representatives and then developing a “hub and spoke” model for each state, with smaller collections in each state partnering with the larger or more active collections to increase efficiency of information flow and resource allocation. Most active herbaria have an affiliate community of professional scientists in their institutions and in the surrounding area. These are professional scientists from various fields of study in their home institutions, scientists in state or federal agencies or in corporations, along with amateur botanists, students and teachers. The name for our group, SERNEC: SouthEast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections, highlights the value of both the collections and this broad community of experts associated with the collections. We are now organized as the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Herbarium Curators (SHC) and SERNEC is an ongoing project supported by the SE Chapter.