Paleobotanical specimen catalogs on the Internet

The United States National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) has put its Fossil Plant and Algae Type Register (USNM) on the Internet. This catalog can also be accessed via the Smithsonian Institution's Gopher archive. This catalog contains 33,000 type and figured specimen records. Most records were added during the early 1980's.

Similarly, the University of California (Berkeley) Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) has its Paleobotany Type Collection catalog on the Internet, on a Gopher archive and indirectly via the Web (above). This contains 8,000 type specimen records cataloged through 1986. Diatoms are included in the UCMP Microfossil Type Collection. The Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University (YPM) has an online catalog (Gopher) of 39,976 specimens (of 100,000), including 4537 types. Approximately 70,000 specimens were added to the collection during the past decade, primarily through field work but also due to the transfer of historic specimens from NYBG and PU.

Other paleobotanical specimen catalogs known to be under development include: the Diatom Collection of the California Academy of Sciences (see abstract on the NSF archive); the University of Oregon's Museum of Natural History (see NSF abstract regarding the Condon collection, which includes plants); the Denver Museum of Natural History (see NSF abstract); and the Field Museum of Natural History's Mazon Creek specimens (see NSF abstract).

Several institutions holding paleobotanical collections can be contacted via the Internet, but do not yet have catalog information available online, other than limited data on the size of the collections. At the University of Florida, the Florida Museum of Natural History's (FLMNH) Paleobotanical Collection (UF) contains 105,000 specimens, including 2335 type or figured specimens. The Natural History Museum, Berne (NMBE) has 155 drawers of plant fossils (see overview). The Chicago Academy of Sciences has a small collection (see overview). The University of Glasgow's Hunterian Museum is rumored to have a specimen cataloging project in the works for its significant paleobotanical collection.

Two Internet reference sources contain information about paleobotanical collections, organized taxonomically. UCMP's Pacific Rim Biodiversity Catalog lists records of collections indexed by taxonomic group (class or phylum), geographic area, and age (period or epoch). The International Organisation of Palaeobotany's (IOP) Plant Fossil Record is an attempt to list all paleobotanical genera, and modern genera to which fossil species have been attributed, together with bibliographic data and pointers to specimen and locality data extracted from the literature and museum catalogs.