Digitization of lichen specimens held within WIS’ sizeable collection first began in 2005 with financial support from the Botanical Club of Wisconsin and the leadership of Dr. James Bennett. By 2017 the database contained photographs, distribution maps, and >133,000 specimen records from the WIS lichen collection. Additionally, checklists of lichens from National Parks (Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and St. Croix National Scenic Riverway) were also developed. A separate database for Arctic lichens was also created.
The current version of what started as an in-state project came about as records for all North American lichens (then international) curated at WIS were targeted when the Herbarium took the lead in organizing a NSF-funded Thematic Collections Network (TCN) focused on North American lichens and bryophytes. Today, the products of these collaborative efforts, including fully searchable databases, can be accessed via the Symbiota web portal mainainted by the Consortium of North American Lichen Herbaria (CNALH):