Welcome to the project website for the Pteridophyte Collections Consortium TCN (PCC)! Pteridophytes (ferns, lycophytes, and their extinct free-sporing relatives) are a diverse group of plants that today comprises approximately 12,000 species and plays a major role in terrestrial ecosystems. Pteridophytes were even more important in the past, especially before the evolution of the gymnosperms and the flowering plants. This group of land plants were the first plants to evolve roots and leaves, the first to colonize drier habitats, and the first to form forests.
Historically, the research communities interested in extant pteridophytes and those studying the fossil ones were largely separate from each other. The extant and fossil specimens were housed in different facilities (herbaria and paleontological museums, respectively) and their researchers often worked in different departments. We created the PCC to promote the integration of these communities by bringing together specimen data and associated resources for both living and fossil pteridophytes.
The Pteridophyte Collections Consortium TCN is a three-year project funded through the National Science Foundation Advancing the Digitization of Biological Collections program (ADBC) to digitize and web-mobilize over 1.6 million extant and fossil pteridophytes from 36 herbaria and museums throughout the U.S. In the future, we hope to include collections from new PCC-affiliated institutions as that will join us as Partners to an Existing Network (PEN), and to collaborate with other institutions worldwide. One of our primary goals is to database and image these collections to make them web-accessible to researchers and the public alike. Data access is available through our PCC Symbiota portal, and data aggregator sites such as iDigBio, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), Paleobiology Database (PBDB), iDigPaleo and others. These data are and will be used for research, education and public outreach, and provide for a long-term digital collection archive.