Mayer, Michael , Hawke, Mary Ann , Rebman, Jon .
Student plant collections: enriching curriculum while advancing floristic research in San Diego.
DUE to a variety of reasons, domestic collecting of plants has declined dramatically in the last several decades, leaving herbarium collections of local and regional floras aged and incomplete. In an effort to reverse this unfortunate trend and simultaneously enhance educational experiences, we have developed a collaboration that links the course requirements of a university-level Plant Systematics course with the needs and objectives of the main herbarium of our region. Specifically, Plant Systematics students at the University of San Diego (USD) are required to make a plant collection to contribute to the San Diego County Plant Atlas Project, which is administered by the San Diego Natural History Museum. The goals of the Plant Atlas Project include not only identifying new taxa or new records for the county, but also acquiring an updated understanding of the distribution of each plant species within the county. Using the Plant Atlas Project interactive website, USD students can identify a location within the county that has been inadequately collected and then work towards exhaustively sampling the flora of that location. They spend time in the field and get acquainted with the plant diversity and ecology of a site. The exercise demonstrates to students the multifaceted value of herbarium collections and provides a meaningful application of plant collecting and identification skills. This type of collection project will not only directly provide vital plant census data for the county and update our regional herbarium collection, but hopefully will also help “raise” a new generation of amateur and professional plant collectors interested in maintaining the quality and utility of our nation’s herbaria.
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1 - University of San Diego, Department of Biology, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, California, 92110-2492, USA
2 - San Diego Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 121390, San Diego, California, 92112, USA
Plant Systematics Course
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Location: Auditorium/Bell Memorial Union
Date: Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
Time: 12:30 PM