University of British Columbia Herbarium
November 2004 Herbarium Paper, Vol. 5, Number 1
Table of Contents
--- from Fred Ganders
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- There was no Herbarium newsletter in 2003 because I was on sabbatical
leave from July 2003 through June 2004. However, I spent July and
August writing grant proposals for the Herbarium, one in conjunction
with the University of Montreal for a Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
application for a Canadian Biodiversity Collections database network,
and for matching money from the BC Knowledge Development Fund. The
CFI grant to the University of Montreal wasn't funded, so the matching
fund grant became irrelevant. After that I tried to use my sabbatical
more productively, to see plants from some parts of the world I'd
never been before, and to start vouchering specimens from the Nong
Nooch Tropical Garden in Thailand. I went to Mexico (the Yucatan)
twice, Thailand twice, and to the Cape region of South Africa. Although
it was the worst year in 50 years for flowers because of inadequate
rainfall (until I got there), the Cape flora was spectacular. I must
now save up enough airline points to go again.
- While I was away our new Curator of Vascular Plants, Dr. Jeannette
Whitton, was Acting Director, and got to go to planning meetings about
our new Herbarium that will be in the new Centre for Biodiversity
Research Building. The University has now raised enough matching money
for the project to begin. It will still be several years, though,
before we move. Maybe about the time I retire.
- We also have a new Collections Manager for the vascular plant and
algae collections, Cindy Sayre. She has instigated several improvements
to protect our collections and make our present Herbarium more user-friendly
until we get our new dream Herbarium.
- Our long-time Collections Manager Olivia Lee received a UBC Faculty
of Science Achievement Award for Outstanding Service for her work
in the Herbarium. Olivia and Cindy also recently arranged the first
Herbarium sponsored lecture in the Botany Dept. seminar series by
Dr. James Dickson in September 2004.
In the 2002 Herbarium Paper I reported the initiation of the E-Flora
BC Project. Although far from complete, in just two years this has
blossomed into the Herbarium's (and Botany Department's) major contribution
to the Community (in the sense of President Martha Piper's Trek 2000
vision). The website (www.eflora.bc.ca) has received international
recognition. Read more about E-Flora BC and other Herbarium news below.
Interaction with the Native Plant Society of BC (NPSBC)
--- from Fred Ganders
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After a talk I gave several years ago where I mentioned the Herbarium,
a lady came up afterwards and said she was really interested in
herbs, and had a large herb garden herself. And if we had the largest
herbarium in Canada west of Ottawa she would really like to see
it. After I told her what the herbarium really was, she never came.
This is a fundamental problem a herbarium has in relating to the
public. A herbarium with dead plants can't compete with a botanical
garden with live plants. But more serious naturalists interested
in plant identification form the herbarium's small natural public,
and the Native Plant Society of British Columbia (NPSBC) is the
organization most likely to contain such people. So it is very pleasing
to us in the herbarium that in the last two years we've dramatically
increased our interaction with the NPSBC.
Collections Managers Olivia Lee and Cindy Sayre recently presented
a NPSBC plant specimen workshop. Curator of Bryophytes Wilf Schofield
and Shona Ellis also recently gave a bryophyte workshop for the
NPSBC. Curator of Vascular Plants Jeannette Whitton organized a
symposium about the Herbarium in conjunction with the NPSBC's annual
general meeting. Director Fred Ganders, Assistant Curator of Algae
Sandra Lindstrom, and graduate student Jeff Saarela, who has the
most specimen loans of any current student, gave talks about the
role of the Herbarium.
But most of the Herbarium's interaction with the NPSBC involves
the E-Flora BC project, which has become the Herbarium's Big Community
E-Flora BC: BIG SUCCESS
--- from Fred Ganders
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- The Short Version: go to: www.eflora.bc.ca
The Long Version:
The E-Flora BC project is a partnership between the Native Plant
Society of British Columbia (NPSBC), the UBC Herbarium, and Dr.
Brian Klinkenberg's Spatial Data Laboratory in the Department of
Geography at UBC. The NPSBC originated the idea and is the lead
organization and coordinator for the E-Flora BC project. Brian Klinkenberg
is an Honorary Research Associate in the Herbarium, and his vision
was an interactive, on-line atlas of BC plants and an E-Flora
BC website that would be the comprehensive centralized source of
information about the plants of BC Being a geographer, of course
a key component of E-Flora BC would be interactive on-line distribution
maps linked to herbarium specimen data. For this, E-Flora BC needed
a database of correctly identified herbarium specimens of BC
plants. The UBC Herbarium had the only large accessible database
of BC plant specimens, which had just been made available on-line
in 2001 through the efforts of Curator of Fungi Mary Berbee and
her husband Dr. Dave Carmean.
- Brian Klinkenberg and Rose Klinkenberg, also an Honorary Research
Associate in the Herbarium, suggested to me that the Herbarium should
join E-Flora. All the Herbarium had to provide was its database and
$800 and the Herbarium would get fame and glory. I thought about it
and liked it. I wanted to get a big Herbarium project going that could
attract support and the public. Our database needed editing and specimens
added, but maybe this would be a way to get help in data entry from
E-Flora. When Rose and Brian asked if I had decided, I said yes so
quickly I think they were disappointed. I think they had all sorts
of persuasive arguments ready for me.
The Vancouver Orchid Society was an early donor to the E-Flora BC
project, and coincidently E-Flora picked the orchid family as its
pilot project. E-Flora website programming and planning went on in
Klinkenberg's Laboratory, and data entry took place in the Herbarium.
Very few of our orchids had been entered at that time. Past Honorary
Curator of Vascular Plants Helen Kennedy set up databases for data
entry. Several E-Flora volunteers came from the NPSBC. Vanessa Pasqualetto
and Rosemary Taylor entered label data, Don Benson and Chris Sears
checked the identifications of specimens, and Chris even updated the
taxonomy of some confused Platanthera species.
- The E-Flora BC website has progressed astoundingly quickly. It has
been enthusiastically joined by a number of organizations that are
providing data, expertise, and other support. The Royal BC Museum
Herbarium provided their plant database, and the Canadian Museum of
Nature Herbarium provided their data for 10,000 BC specimens. The
BC Government Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management gave
E-Flora the text and illustrations from the 8 volumes of the "Illustrated
Vascular Flora of BC" by Douglas et. al. They also provided staff
to convert their files into a suitable html format usable by E-Flora
BC. This 8 volume work is the most up to date reference on vascular
plants of BC, but is so expensive it is out of reach for most people.
The University of Washington allowed E-Flora BC to use all the illustrations
from Hitchcock et al. "Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest".
The BC Ministry of Forests provided access to their Biogeoclimatic
Ecosystem Classification database, which provides detailed ecological
information on many species. The BC Conservation Data Centre allowed
their rare species database to be linked to E-Flora BC. The Canadian
government HRSD (Human Resources Skills Development) has provided
several Job Creation/Job Training positions to work on E-Flora BC.
- Species searches on the E-Flora BC website now provide interactive
distribution maps with dots linked to specific herbarium specimens,
species descriptions and illustrations, ecological data, and more.
Programs have just been completed for the E-Flora Image Bank databases,
which are now ready to receive donated photographs of BC plants.
The Royal B. C Museum donated a database with over 30,000 images.
Yikes, I'm on the image review committee! Although initially focused
on vascular plants, E-Flora will soon include seaweeds, fungi, mosses,
liverworts, and lichens. Curator of Bryophytes Wilf Schofield provided
some of his unpublished maps for mosses and an introduction to the
bryophytes. Assistant Curator of Algae Sandra Lindstrom is preparing
species descriptions of BC seaweeds for E-Flora, and a list of
current names and synonyms is also being prepared.
- E-Flora BC is becoming the virtual home of a botanical community
interested in the flora of British Columbia. This success has been
due to the efforts of many people, but, in my opinion, E-Flora Project
Coordinator Brian Klinkenberg deserves the most credit. He has supervised
all the programming to create the website. In September 2003 I received
a UBC Faculty of Science Achievement Award for Outstanding Service
for my "work on the E-Flora BC Project, an interactive internet
atlas of BC plants based on the biodiversity collections in the UBC
Herbarium". There isn't any similar award in the Faculty of Arts,
so unfortunately Brian has had no recognition from the University,
Visit the E-Flora BC website (www.eflora.bc.ca). Remember it is under
active development, so if something doesn't work, try again in an
- And now for the E-Flora BC website's first international
recognition. The Internet Scout Project is supported, in part, by
the U.S. National Science Foundation.
Dear Website Administrator,
As the managing editor of the Internet Scout Project I am pleased
to notify you that your site was reviewed and reported on in
the current edition of the NSDL Scout Report for the Life Sciences.
You can access the current report at: http://scout.wisc.edu/Reports/NSDL/LifeSci/Current/
Our weekly reports are read by tens of thousands of subscribers
(and passed along to tens of thousands more) and seek to separate
the proverbial ‘wheat from the chaff’ when it comes
to the innumerable resources available on the Web. Your site
was found to be one of great quality and merit.
In addition to this notification, we offer the attached decal
which you are free to include on your website and to use as
a link to the Scout website, if desired.
Congratulations on providing such a great Web resource!
The Internet Scout Project
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Big Changes in the Herbarium
--- from Fred Ganders
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- In the past two years there have been big changes in the Herbarium.
Cindy Sayre was hired as a collections manager and she cleaned up
the Herbarium and reorganized it for more work space. Cindy and Tessa
Richardson raised over $1,000 for freezers for Herbarium pest control
with a herbarium plant sale and "movie night". Incoming
specimens will now be frozen to kill enemies from the animal kingdom,
and the present collection will be frozen on a rotating basis to keep
specimens insect-free. Cindy attended the Northwest Herbarium Workshop
at the University of Idaho in May 2004 and returned with a fundraising
idea. The Herbarium is now selling framed prints of herbarium specimens
of native plants of B.C. to raise money. They look so real you can't
resist trying to pull them off the paper. We are also selling plant
- The Botany Department purchased new computers for the Herbarium.
Kent Brothers' donation to the Herbarium Fund, matched by his employer
Creo Inc., provided a secure fire-resistant case for our type specimens.
Director Fred Ganders got a UBC Faculty of Science Skylight Development
Grant for over $3,000 worth of fiber optic microscope lights. He also
got a $3,000 TD Friends of the Environment Foundation Grant for the
E-Flora BC website". Half of it is to upgrade the Herbarium's
- Collections Manager Olivia Lee reports that Kent Brothers is also
supplying the Herbarium with recycled 24" x 36" acid-free,
heavy-weight display board. These cardboards have many uses in the
Herbarium. One is to make specimen boxes for the bryophyte and lichen
collections instead of using shoe boxes from local shoe stores.
Volunteers Needed for Mounting Specimens
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- For many years volunteers from the UBC Botanical Garden FOGS (Friends
of the Garden) have mounted herbarium specimens for us. They have
stopped doing this temporarily because they are needed to mount specimens
for the Garden, which is starting its own herbarium. Therefore we
are seeking volunteers to mount specimens.
Collections News: Algae
--- information from Sandra Lindstrom and Michael Hawkes
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- Bowie Seamount Seaweeds
Only two collections of algae have been made on the Bowie Seamount,
an offshore pinnacle that rises to within about 25 m of the ocean
surface 180 km west of Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands).
The first collection, made by divers from the C.S.S. Parizeaux in
August 1969, was described in 1970 by R. F. Scagel (Syesis 3: 15-16).
The second collection, made by Doug Swanston of Seacology Consulting
and his colleagues in August 2003, has been deposited in the UBC herbarium.
Both collections contained only brown and red seaweeds. Habitat pictures
from both years reveal a canopy of Desmarestia ligulata.
- Assistant Curator of Algae Dr. Sandra Lindstrom reports that this
new collection adds nine new records of seaweeds for Bowie Seamount:
one brown algae, Sphacelaria norrisii, and eight red algae, Callophyllis
sp., an encrusting coralline alga, Fauchea laciniata, Haraldiophyllum
nottii, Hommersandia maximicarpa, Membranoptera sp., Opuntiella californica,
and Phycodrys isabellae. Of these species, all but Opuntiella californica
constituted the turf covering the shells of the giant barnacle, Balanus
nubilus, the rock scallop, Crassadoma gigantea, and the California
mussel, Mytilus californianus. The abundance and conspicuousness of
Opuntiella californica during the 2003 survey and its failure to show
up in the 1969 collections indicate that this species has colonized
Bowie Seamount during the intervening years.
- A number of species recorded in 1969 were absent in 2003: Cryptopleura
sp., Delesseria decipiens, and Polyneuera latissima. Although it is
possible that these species disappeared from Bowie Seamount between
1969 and 2003, another explanation is that these earlier records,
based on scrapings from rocks preserved in formalin, are the same
as specimens we now identify as Haraldiophyllum, Membranoptera and
- Bowie Seamount is thought to have been an active volcano during
the last ice age and as such, represents a potential offshore glacial
refugium for marine organisms. The Bowie Seamount Area includes 15,000
sq. km encompassing the Bowie, Hodgkins and Davidson seamounts and
surrounding abyssal plain. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has designated
it a pilot marine protected area. Additional information is available
- A webpage providing images of the collection and links to additional
information on Bowie Seamount will be posted on the herbarium website
in the near future.
Phycological Library Acquisitions
The UBC herbarium phycological collection received two recent donations
of books and journals. When she retired as herbarium technician,
Julie C. Oliveira gave her personal library to the herbarium. Dr.
Robert Sheath gave the herbarium some books and nearly complete
sets of major phycological journals that he received from the estate
of the late Professor Emerita Kathleen M. Cole.
Although our phycological library is modest compared to other major
phycological collections, we hope it will grow as others recognize
the value of donating to it. The collection would benefit most from
donations of older works (nineteenth century—but many available
as modern reprints) in which species occurring in the rich seaweed
flora of the coast were originally described.
Curator of Algae Michael Hawkes is co-author, with Scoresby Shepherd
of the South Australian Research and Development Institute, of a
paper in an upcoming issue of the Bulletin of Marine Science entitled
‘Algal food preferences and seasonal foraging strategy of
the marine iguana, Amblyrhynchus cristatus, on Santa Cruz, Galapagos’.
Collections News: Bryophytes
--- information from Wilf Schofield
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- Curator of Bryophytes Wilf Schofield has been collecting on Simeonof
Island in the Shumagin Islands, southwestern Alaska. As a result of
his collections and exchanges, our accessioned bryophyte specimens
have passed the quarter million mark. Our 259,000 bryophytes are the
largest and most comprehensive collection in Canada and western North
America west of St. Louis, Missouri. During the past year, over 2,000
specimens were sent out in exchange and approximately 1,000 were received
in exchange. For the Bryophytes of North America project, approximately
3,000 specimens of 10 genera have been sent on loan. For western North
American species as well as for distribution of all species, the UBC
herbarium is a critical resource.
- This past year about 10 students have used bryophyte and lichen
specimens in their studies. Professional bryologists Dr. J. H. Dickson
and Dr. T. T. McIntosh have visited the herbarium to study specimens.
Using money obtained through contracts to Dr. Schofield, we have been
able to lure Richard Chan to add data to the database as well as process
specimens for accessioning. Even so, the bryophyte database is still
only 60% complete.
Wilf published the following papers in 2004:
- Daniels, F. J. A., S. S. Talbot, S. L. Talbot and W. B. Schofield.
2004. Phytosociological study of the dwarf shrub heath of Simeonof
Wilderness, Shumagin Islands, SW. Alaska. Phytocoenologia 34: 465-489.
Ramsay, H. P., W. B. Schofield and BC Tan. 2004. The Family Sematophyllaceae
(Bryopsida) in Australia. Part 2. J. Hattori Bot. Lab. 95: 1-69.
Schofield, W. B. 2004. Endemic genera of bryophytes of North America
(north of Mexico). Preslia, Praha 76: 255-277.
Schofield, W. B., S. S. Talbot and S. L, Talbot . 2004. Bryophytes
of Simeonof Island in the Shumagin Islands, southwestern Alaska. J.
Hattori Bot. Lab. 95: 155-198.
Collections News: Lichen
--- information from Trevor Goward and Wilf Schofield
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- Curator of Lichens Trevor Goward has been working on a book entitled
"Ways of Enlichenment: Macrolichens of Northwest North America",
with co-authors Andy MacKinnon and Jim Pojar. Anyone at all familiar
with plants in British Columbia knows the field guides by Andy MacKinnon
and Jim Pojar, and some of us (Wilf and Fred) are old enough to
remember Andy and Jim when they were graduate students using the
The book will provide keys for all 650 species of macrolichens known
to occur in the area extending from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky
Mountains, and from the MacKenzie River south to Monterey, California.
For 450 of these species it also includes photographs, distribution
maps, and ecological information. It will be published by Lone Pine
Press, Edmonton, Alberta.
- Trevor adds, "As you can imagine, both the maps and my taxonomic
concepts benefitted tremendously from the collections at UBC."
- About 1,200 specimens of lichens have been processed and deposited
in the herbarium this past year, many of them collected in connection
with Trevor's studies of B.C.'s inland old growth rainforests. It
is of course important to document what currently exists in these
forests, as one never knows how long they will remain standing.
A volunteer, Derek Woods, has helped process the lichen specimens
and enter label data into the database. The lichen database, with
data from our 38,000 specimens, is essentially complete.
Collections News: Vascular Plants
--- information from Cindy Sayre and Fred Ganders
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In 2003 Dr. Jeannette Whitton was appointed Curator of Vascular Plants
and Cindy Sayre was appointed Collections Manager for the vascular
Viktoria Wagner, an undergraduate student from Göttingen, Germany
completed a one month Internship in the Herbarium in September, 2004.
While Viktoria is primary interested in grasses, she can read Russian
and was able to translate label information for 240 Russian vascular
plant specimens received through exchange, so they could be entered
into the herbarium database. In addition to this project, Viktoria
received training in the major aspects of herbarium work and spent
much of her time entering label information into the database, accessioning
new specimens and incorporating these into the existing collections.
We would also like to acknowledge our new E-Flora volunteers who
enter specimen label data for E-Flora and the Herbarium’s online
database: Justine Karst, Crystal Cerny, Kristin Stevenson, and Soren.
Software Architect Gerald Carter of Suresoft Development has been
working with Cindy Sayre to design and develop a new custom herbarium
database. This database will be used for the vascular collections,
and possibly others in the future, and will facilitate data transfer
between the herbarium and E-Flora BC. Unlike the database we currently
use, the new program is relational, more secure, has improved user
access control, and can link to reference databases. These features,
including built-in verification of taxonomy and geographic data, and
annotation tracking, will improve the integrity of our data and facilitate
data entry and editing.
Frank Lomer, Herbarium Honorary Research Associate, is one of the
most active collectors of vascular plants in British Columbia. In
2003 and 2004 Frank contributed over 500 new specimens from various
parts of BC, including the Rocky Mountain trench, the dry lands along
the Thompson River near Cache Creek, the Tofino area, and the Lower
Mainland. Among his collections are two new species records for BC:
Melica fugax (Poaceae) and Agoseris elata (Asteraceae), both growing
in Manning Provincial Park. Dr. Helen Kennedy donated 575 specimens,
most to be used for exchange with the University of California, Riverside
for Californian and Mexican specimens. Of four other major collections
received, the most unusual is the Inuvialuit Ethnobotanical Collection
from the Aurora Research Institute, Inuvik, Northwest Territories,
from former Herbarium work study summer student Bob Bandringa.
Nong Nooch and Internationalization
One of the goals of the University of British Columbia Herbarium,
which is also one of President Piper's Trek 2000 goals, is "internationalization".
We want to expand international cooperation and the international
significance of the herbarium. We want to make it an international
rather than just a regional herbarium.
We can't compete with giant old herbaria like Kew or Harvard, so
we have to specialize. There are no Canadian herbaria actively building
tropical collections. We already have a major collection of the tropical
family Marantaceae. Dr. Helen Kennedy, an Honorary Research Associate
in the Botany Dept., is a world expert on the taxonomy of Marantaceae,
so Marantaceae have been the first focus of our project.
Director Fred Ganders and Helen Kennedy have started vouchering the
living collections in the Hortus Botanicus at the Nong Nooch Tropical
Garden near Pattaya, Thailand. They have made two trips collecting
Marantaceae and cycad specimens, and will make a third one in December
2004. These trips have been supported by the Tropical Rainforest Plant
Fund, at no expense to the Herbarium.
Nong Nooch is a 520 acre tourist-oriented botanical garden owned
by Mr. Kampon Tansacha. Nong Nooch has a remarkable scientific resource
collection, not open to the public, called the Hortus Botanicus. It
specializes in acquiring the most complete living collections of selected
families of tropical plants, including palms, cycads, and the order
Zingiberales, which includes gingers, bananas, heliconias, Costaceae,
Lowiaceae, and the prayer plants, Marantaceae. Nong Nooch has, for
example, over 1100 species of palms and all 275 known cycad species.
That is why cycads are our second focus. These collections can be
of great value to scientific researchers around the world, as well
as to conservation and horticulture. The living collections are available
for research by scientists and graduate students.
Photographing and making herbarium specimens of the plants in the
Hortus Botanicus will make the collections more valuable to international
researchers, because any published research can cite the specimens
at UBC as vouchers. Our collection of voucher specimens will be internationally
important. This will save researchers time, and protect the plants
because fewer specimens will be made from each one. It will also make
access to all of the vouchers available in one herbarium, and link
all of the various studies done on the same living plant to one specimen.
All of the herbarium specimen label data will be on our herbarium
database website, making it searchable by anyone.
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- Head, Department of Botany: Dr. Carl Douglas
Department of Botany Herbarium Committee: Dr. Mary Berbee, Dr. Fred
Ganders, Dr. Sean Graham, Dr. Michael Hawkes, Dr. Jeannette WhittonDirector
of the Herbarium: Dr. Fred Ganders, Professor of Botany
Curator of Algae: Dr. Michael Hawkes, Lecturer in Botany
Assistant Curator of Algae: Dr. Sandra Lindstrom, Adjunct Professor
Curator of Bryophytes: Dr. Wilf Schofield, Emeritus Professor of Botany
Curator of Fungi: Dr. Mary Berbee, Associate Professor of Botany
Curator of Vascular Plants: Dr. Jeannette Whitton, Associate Professor
Collections Manager, Bryophytes, Lichens and Fungi: Olivia Lee
Collections Manager, Vascular Plants and Algae: Cynthia Sayre
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