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This content will become publicly available on January 1, 2023

Title: Parasitic flowering plant collections embody the extended specimen
Abstract 1. The widespread digitization of natural history collections, combined with novel tools and approaches is revolutionizing biodiversity science. The ‘extended specimen’ concept advocates a more holistic approach in which a specimen is framed as a diverse stream of interconnected data. Herbarium specimens that by their very nature capture multispecies relationships, such as certain parasites, fungi and lichens, hold great potential to provide a broader and more integrative view of the ecology and evolution of symbiotic interactions. This particularly ap- plies to parasite–host associations, which owing to their interconnectedness are especially vulnerable to global environmental change. 2. Here, we present an overview of how parasitic flowering plants is represented in herbarium collections. We then discuss the variety of data that can be gathered from parasitic plant specimens, and how they can be used to understand global change impacts at multiple scales. Finally, we review best practices for sampling parasitic plants in the field, and subsequently preparing and digitizing these specimens. 3. Plant parasitism has evolved 12 times within angiosperms, and similar to other plant taxa, herbarium collections represent the foundation for analysing key aspects of their ecology and evolution. Yet these collections hold far greater potential. Data and metadata obtained from parasitic plant more » specimens can inform analyses of co-distribution patterns, changes in eco-physiology and species plasticity spanning temporal and spatial scales, chemical ecology of tripartite interactions (e.g. host–parasite–herbivore), and molecular data critical for species conservation. Moreover, owing to the historic nature and sheer size of global herbarium collections, these data provide the spatiotemporal breadth essential for investigating organismal response to global change. 4. Parasitic plant specimens are primed to serve as ideal examples of extended specimen concept and help motivate the next generation of creative and impactful collection-based science. Continued digitization efforts and improved curatorial practices will contribute to opening these specimens to a broader audience, allowing integrative research spanning multiple domains and offering novel opportunities for education. « less
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Methods in Ecology and Evolution
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National Science Foundation
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