March 21 Speaker Series – The Importance of Herbaria

“The Importance of Herbaria” with Alison Colwell, Curator, U.C. Davis Center for Plant Diversity Herbarium

Presentation: Alison will guide you on a tour of the history and cultural significance of herbaria. Herbaria are the (largely secret) repositories of knowledge of our California flora, there are likely over 100 herbaria in California, large and small. Herbaria are inhabited by an unusual, possibly eccentric, but generous and devoted community of people. The digital age is transforming how science is done, including how knowledge is stored and accessed, raising the profile and potential of herbaria (and other types of museums/libraries) significantly. It is also increasing the need and opportunity for more plant people to become involved in herbarium work.

Alison Colwell, Curator, U.C. Davis Center for Plant Diversity Herbarium

Bio: Alison is the curator of the Center for Plant Diversity Herbarium at University of California, Davis. She has a B.A. in Botany from Cornell University (where she first fell in love with an herbarium, the Bailey Hortorium) and a PhD in Population Biology and Evolution from Washington University in Saint Louis (famous as the city home to the vast Missouri Botanical Garden herbarium). Her doctoral thesis was a molecular study: characterizing the changes in the chloroplast genomes of the plant family Orobanchaceae resulting from the trophic switch from photosynthesis to parasitism. Her recent research projects are herbarium-based: refining the taxonomy of the parasitic plant genus Aphyllon (formerly Orobanche) and studies of the flora of the Yosemite region.

We are resuming the before meeting dinners at the Kirin Restaurant, 2700 Yulupa Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95405 We will meet there at 5:45 p.m. Please contact Liz Parson (707) 508-8345, or if you plan to go.

Register for Alison Colwell’s talk here