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  News from MO - 2001 Table of Contents  

General Curation

As of January 1, 2001 there were 5,110,376 mounted, accessioned specimens in the herbarium (4,746,428 vascular plants and 363,948 bryophytes). During 2000 the herbarium mounted or packeted and accessioned 108,248 specimens. 31,290 specimens were sent on loan and 16,560 gift specimens sent to specialists around the world. James Solomon manages the herbarium. Herbarium functions—filing, shipping, receiving, etc.—are performed by Jean Digby, Micah Issitt, Peter Keefner, and Heidi Threnn. Kristin Pierce works with type specimens and other non-project material. Specimen mounting activities are managed on a daily basis by Gigi Hill, with the assistance of Tom Bernickus, Olga Fomina, Carol Hebblethwaite, Renate Kheim, Marlene Monroe, Leonardo Mourré, Mary Anne Norton, Anna Spencer, Sally Strange, Lidiya Toropova, Adam Wood, and Laurel Zimmer. Donna Herrera, Carla Kostelac, and Rita Randolph ably provide data entry and produce labels through the Garden’s computer database programs. Lois Ganss, Senior Secretary, handles innumerable telephone calls, visitors, and administrative details for the herbarium.

In 2001 the Garden acquired the Clyde Reed Herbarium, a collection that is particularly strong in the Mid-Atlantic area (Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and New York). The Reed Herbarium consists of an estimated 197,000 mounted specimens (162,000 vascular plants, 35,000 bryophytes). Reed himself collected nearly 80% of the specimens, and his collecting activities ranged from about 1940 to the late 1980s. The oldest specimens date from the 1890s, and about five per cent of the collection is from tropical America, Europe, and Asia. Reed’s collection is unique in that most of his specimens are not found at any othern institution.

Ronald Liesner, Curatorial Assistant, sorts Mesoamerican, South American, and Chinese plants to family so they can be sent to specialists. For families without specialists, Liesner identifies accumulated collections to species and at the same time curates the herbarium using new monographs and Floras, cycling through the flowering plant families once every three years. Special requests for determinations from ecologists, anthropologists, etc., are accumulated and processed once a year. Plants without label information (including latitude, longitude, and elevation) will not be identified.

As an aid for research in molecular phylogenetics, the herbarium maintains a collection of material specifically intended for DNA extraction. Botanists at the Misssouri Botanical Garden collect leaf samples, preserve them in silica gel and store them at -20º C. Because the samples are carefully prepared and curated, they are likely to give better yields of higher quality DNA than herbarium material. Heidi Schmidt manages the collection. To date, nearly 4,000 specimens have been catalogued and are available for distribution. The catalog of this material is available at www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/DNAdocs/dnabank.html. Please contact Schmidt (heidi.schmidt@mobot.org) if you are interested in obtaining DNA samples.

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News from MO 2001 was created by Kathy Hurlbert, Leslie Miller, Eloise Cannady and Mary Merello (October 2001) and placed on the MOBOT webserver 1/22/02.


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