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Bullet policy, statements · Feb 21, 2024

AIBS Calls on Duke University to Reconsider Decision to Close Herbarium

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) has sent a letter to Duke University leadership in response to reports about the closure of their herbarium due to a change in funding priorities.

The letter strongly urged Duke leadership to reconsider the decision to dismantle the herbarium. “At 825,000+ specimens, the Duke Herbarium will be the largest herbarium in the history of the U.S. to be abandoned by its host institution,” reads the letter. “The decision to shut down the herbarium is at odds with the national momentum behind biological collections…Duke’s decision to forgo responsibility of their herbarium specimens - and the important biodiversity research they support - sets a terrible precedent.”

Read the letter.

AIBS has also endorsed a related petition, along with the American Bryological and Lichenological Society (ABLS), Natural Science Collections Alliance (NSCA), Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio), Society of Herbarium Curators (SHC), and the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC). The petition received more than 10,000 signatures since it was started on February 15, 2024. We encourage individuals, who care about biodiversity and species discovery, and believe that herbaria play a crucial role in this field, to sign it.

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