Davis Laboratory

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Latest News!


Meineke accepts position at UC Davis!

June 16, 2019
Please congratulate our very own  Emily Meineke, who has accepted a position as Assistant Professor in Entomology and Neematology at UC Davis. Best wishes, Emily! 
More news

Recent Publications

Emily K. Meineke, Charles C. Davis, and Jonathan Davies. Forthcoming. “The unrealized potential of herbaria for global change biology.” Ecological Monographs, Pp. 1-21.Abstract


Plant and fungal specimens in herbaria are becoming primary resources for investigat-

ing how plant phenology and geographic distributions shift with climate change, greatly expanding

inferences across spatial, temporal, and phylogenetic dimensions. However, these specimens contain a

wealth of additional data, including nutrients, defensive compounds, herbivore damage, disease

lesions, and signatures of physiological processes, that capture ecological and evolutionary responses

to the Anthropocene but which are less frequently utilized. Here, we outline the diversity of herbarium

data, global change topics to which they have been applied, and new hypotheses they could inform.

We find that herbarium data have been used extensively to study impacts of climate change and inva-

sive species, but that such data are less commonly used to address other drivers of biodiversity loss,

including habitat conversion, pollution, and overexploitation. In addition, we note that fungal speci-

mens are under-explored relative to vascular plants. To facilitate broader application of plant and fun-

gal specimens in global change research, we consider the limitations of these data and modern

sampling and statistical tools that may be applied to surmount challenges they present. Using a case

study of insect herbivory, we illustrate how novel herbarium data may be employed to test hypotheses

for which few data exist. With the goal of positioning herbaria as hubs for global change research, we

suggest future research directions and curation priorities.

Key words: climate change; extinction; global change; habitat conversion; herbarium; historical data; invasive

species; museum specimens.


Brandon Hedrick, Mason Heberling, Emily Meineke, Kathryn Turner, Christopher Grassa, Daniel Park, Jonathan Kennedy, Julia A. Clarke, Joseph Cook, David Blackburn, Scott V. Edwards, and Charles C. Davis. 2019. “Digitization and the future of natural history collections.” PeerJ Preprints, 7, Pp. e27859v1. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Natural history collections (NHCs) are the foundation of historical baselines for assessing anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity. Along these lines, the online mobilization of specimens via digitization–the conversion of specimen data into accessible digital content–has greatly expanded the use of NHC collections across a diversity of disciplines. We broaden the current vision of digitization (Digitization 1.0)–whereby specimens are digitized within NHCs–to include new approaches that rely on digitized products rather than the physical specimen (Digitization 2.0). Digitization 2.0 builds upon the data, workflows, and infrastructure produced by Digitization 1.0 to create digital-only workflows that facilitate digitization, curation, and data linkages, thus returning value to physical specimens by creating new layers of annotation, empowering a global community, and developing automated approaches to advance biodiversity discovery and conservation. These efforts will transform large-scale biodiversity assessments to address fundamental questions including those pertaining to critical modern issues of global change.