The Pryer Lab Archive of Silica-Dried Fern Material ("silica archive") contains over 7800 accessions (as of November 2010), each linking a herbarium voucher to material available for DNA extraction. The integration of (usually) silica-dried leaf tissue with herbarium vouchers and their associated metadata makes the collection a valuable resource for a wide range of collections-based research involving ferns.
The silica archive includes material representing most major lycophyte and fern lineages. Coverage is generally uneven, with some species represented with population-level sampling and others absent. Each included sample has an associated herbarium voucher, which is listed along with relevant information such as the species name, collector, collection locality, and history, in the Fern Lab Database.
The archived samples are housed in acid-free envelopes within sealed compartments containing silica gel. Maintenance of this irreplaceable archive involves the ongoing expansion of the physical space and its organizational scheme, the day-to-day upkeep of the associated data in the Fern DNA Database, the labeling and filing of the silica-dried material, and the regular exchange and recharge of the silica desiccant.
Material from the sliica archive is available to the broader systematics community on a case-by-case basis; interested parties are encourage to consult the silica archive material request form.