Paper No. 105-14
Presentation Time: 11:15 AM
FROM FIELD COLLECTIONS TO DIGITAL DATA: A WORKFLOW AND DIGITIZATION PIPELINE FOR RECONSTRUCTION OF A CRETACEOUS MACROFLORA (Invited Presentation)
The integration of curation and digitization with project-focused data collection is a key component to performing time-efficient studies from new fossil collections. Standard workflows for processing fossil specimens starting from initial field collection and continuing through digital analysis/measurement are not widely established, and most workers adopt methods catered to their specific study. Here I present my workflow for reconstruction of a diverse Late Cretaceous flora from plant macrofossils. Over the course of four years, I have made extensive new collections from a single horizon recrystallized volcanic ash deposit, establishing 26 quarries that span the >1.2 km length of exposure. In addition to performing field censuses at each quarry, over 2000 fossiliferous slabs with voucher specimens have been collected for further study and curation at the University of California Museum of Paleontology. Basic tasks involved in the reconstruction of the flora include differentiation and description of unique leaf types, identification and census counts of leaf specimens at each quarry, and measurement of leaf characteristics from digitized specimens. I will discuss how these tasks have been worked into a pipeline to streamline data collection and curation, including both specimen imaging and generation of geo-referenced individual specimen records as part of the digitization process. I will delve into parts of the workflow that have caused processing bottlenecks, and what measures have been taken to resolve them, especially how physical re-organization of space and both people and physical resources have been key to developing the workflow.