The National Science Foundation is awarding three grants worth $1.4 million to help scientists create a catalog and standardized checklist of plants from Polynesia and Micronesia.
They money will support collaboration by the Honolulu-based Bishop Museum, the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kauai, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and researchers in American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga, Palau, Guam and Fiji.
The researchers are due to form a Consortium of Pacific Herbaria to study and manage plant collections from Polynesia and Micronesia.
U.S. Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka of Hawaii announced the award in a statement Thursday.
The two Democratic senators say plants can help us understand more about the makeup of ecosystems, the evolution of species and lead to important advances in medicine and science.