Algarium Veneticum: a new institutional herbarium for the study of marine algal biodiversity. XXV Congresso Associazione Nazionale Musei Scientifici, Torino, 11-13 Novembre 2015.
Algae started to be collected at least from the Renaissance: one of the earlier known herbaria still preserved including algae, is the Ulysses Aldrovandi’s Hortus Siccus, collected from about 1551 until Aldrovandi’s death in 1605.
The Agardh herbarium contains one of the world’s most important collections of algae, with 50.000 samples and 6000 type specimens, while the Algarium Zanardini, at the Natural History Museum of Venice, is undoubtedly the most valuable collection of species mostly from the Adriatic Sea.
Recently, a forgotten algal herbarium collected from Aristocle Vatova between 1942 and 1950 in Venice Lagoon has been found at the Biblioteca Storica di Studi Adriatici of the Institute of Marine Sciences (ISMAR CNR) headquarters in Venice. It was decided to formally establish the first herbarium of the Institute. The new herbarium was recorded by the New York Botanical Garden under the name Algarium Veneticum and the acronym as Index Herbariorum was assigned. Currently, the Algarium Veneticum includes the Vatova collection entitled “Distribuzione e polimorfismo di Gracilaria confervoides nella Laguna di Venezia”, consisting of 19 folders containing more than a thousand samples of Gracilaria and a miscellaneous section with specimens of different algal taxa.This project aims: i) to digitize the Vatova collection and to publish the metadata on the platforms Atlante della Laguna (www.atlantedellalaguna.it), CIGNo (http://cigno.ve.ismar.cnr.it/) and on the Biblioteca Storica di Studi Adriatici website (http://bsa.ve.ismar.cnr.it); ii) to revise the collection by an integrated approach of both classic taxonomic methods and DNA barcoding techniques; iii) to expand the algarium with modern algal collections from Venice Lagoon and Adriatic Sea.