Development of digitalization standards for capturing leaf venation from herbarium specimens using microradiography

Herbaria, with their large collections of recent and historical plant evidence, document changes over historical periods and are therefore increasingly used in research as environmental archives in recent times (e.g. climate change research). In particular, the leaf veining proved to be an important indicator of changes in environmental conditions. However, traditional chemical-based methods for the preparation of leaf venation are destructive and time-consuming and are therefore not suitable for the investigation of large series of leaf samples, as required e.g. in functional ecology or biodiversity research. Recent studies have shown that microradiographic methods are a promising, non-destructive alternative to visualize the architecture of leaf venation. The aim of the present project is therefore the (further) development of radiography-based digitisation standards for the rapid, non-destructive capture of relevant features of leaf venation from herbarium specimens.

The project makes use of collections of the botanical divisions of Senckenberg in Frankfurt and Görlitz (GLM, FR) as well as the methodological expertise of the Division Messel Research. The digitized data will be made permanently available to the public via online databases.

Georg Zizka, Julio Schneider (Senckenberg Division of Botany and Molecular Evolutionary Research Frankfurt)
Jörg Habersetzer, Renate Rabenstein (Senckenberg Division of Metrology and Paleoanthropology)

German Research Foundation (DFG)

Contact: Jens Wesenberg