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HIGHLIGHTS OF 1999

Increase knowledge of plant diversity within the Intermountain Region

  • 2,046 specimens were added to the collection during 1999, bringing the total number of accessioned specimens to 227,347. This is a smaller increase than in the previous two years, largely because much more staff time was spent on loan returns, service, and assistance to the teaching program than in previous years. The number of specimens received, including those received from staff members, was actually higher than in previous years, but many remain to be processed.
  • 1,419 specimens were sent on exchange to other herbaria and 1,182 were received from other herbaria to add to the collection in the Intermountain Herbarium. This represents a significant increase in the number of specimens sent on exchange compared with previous years.
  • One hundred and fifty eight specimens of macrofungi were added to the collection. This reflects a conscious effort to expand the herbarium's scope to include fungi, a group of organisms whose importance to ecosystem stability is being increasingly recognized. Most collections were made by Michael Piep, a student in the Department of Biology who was also employed in the herbarium, first to assist in teaching field biology but subsequently as one of the herbarium assistants.

Staff Collecting Activity: The Collections Manager, Allyson Davis, collected in San Juan and Rich Counties, Utah; Oneida and Franklin Counties, Idaho; and Sublette County, Wyoming. And material of Haplopappus for nucleotide sequencing as part of a phylogenetic study by Roland Roberts of Louisiana State University. Barkworth collected Stipeae for morphological, anatomical, and nucleotide sequencing studies for research by colleagues in various countries.

Other Collecting Activity: Michael Piep collected numerous macrofungi from Cache National Forest. Sandy Long contributed numerous specimens of weedy species that were collected in connection with a study on invasive plants at Hill Air Force base. Andreas Leidolf and Tim Nuttle contributed several additional specimens from Rich County. Piep and Long are employed as herbarium assistants, but their collecting activities are not paid for or sponsored by the herbarium. Leidolf and Nuttle are graduate students at Utah State University. Their collecting activity comes from interest in plants. It is not related to the research program of either individual.

Dissemination of Results: There have been no printed publications relating directly to development of the collection, but copies of portions of the database have been made available to various individuals in the form of a computer file. These requests are usually made in connection with a loan request, but we have also supplied data independent of a loan request. In particular, data for all species on the ‘Watch’ list of Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources were entered into the database and sent to Ben Franklin, a botanist in the Utah Natural Heritage Program.

Assist others in conducting research

  • Staff members spent over 183 hours responding to inquiries during 1999. These inquiries are diverse in nature, ranging from requests for help in plant identification to suggestions as to references that would provide particular kinds of information. An increasingly common request is for information on locations where particular species have been found. The information is frequently provided in digital format, after the data have been entered into the herbarium database. Staff members have also collected material for use in molecular studies by individuals at other institutions. In all cases, a voucher specimen is deposited in the Intermountain Herbarium and an additional specimen is sent to the receiving institution.
  • 435 specimens were sent on loan during 1999, and 88 were received. Most of those received were borrowed by Barkworth for work in connection with the Manual of Grasses for North America. In addition, the herbarium returned 2,410 specimens loaned for Barkworth and received 572 UTC specimens that had been lent to other institutions. Because of the care with which each loan must be documented, this activity reflects a considerable commitment of staff time.
  • There were 247 visits to the herbarium. This is about the same as in previous years. Many of those who are familiar with other herbaria have commented favorably on the resources of the Intermountain Herbarium and the help that they have received from the Collections Manager, Allyson Davis, and her assistants.
  • Several books have been added to the herbarium library, many of which were donated by Dr. R.J. Shaw, Director Emeritus. In addition, the herbarium purchased Kartesz' Digital Floristic Synthesis of the North American Flora, which provides a wealth of state-level distributional information. Merrill Library continues to add all additions to the university's integrated library catalog. During 1999, 44 visits to the herbarium were made primarily to consult its library. This is almost double the number of such visits in the previous year.

Increase the utility of the herbarium's database

  • During 1999, the herbarium database was enhanced by the addition of a label preparation program. This makes it possible to post data for specimens collected by those using the label program directly into the herbarium database. In addition, the label program enables a collector to specify where duplicate specimens are to be sent, or simply to indicate that a specimen is a duplicate from the Intermountain Herbarium. This latter facility will make it easier to follow a collector's wishes when sending out exchange material.
  • Well over 1,000 names were added to the TAXON table, one of the authority files in the herbarium database. Many of these names were of fungi and bryophytes, reflecting increased activity in both areas. We are still seeking sources of information on the authorities for many of the fungal names.
  • 4,336 records were added to herbarium database. Those added were, in general, records for newly accessioned specimens, newly annotated specimens, specimens being sent on loan, or specimens of species for which we had been asked to provide distributional information. Among the records added were those for all UTC specimens of species on the ‘Watch List’ in the state's heritage authority's Inventory of Sensistive Speices and Ecosystmes in Utah.
  • ArcView was installed on the herbarium's main computer and used to prepare a distribution map of specimens having latitude and longitude data. Installation of ArcView was a preliminary step to making information from the herbarium available as dynamic maps, a long expressed goal for the herbarium.

Develop identification tools to meet specific needs

Barkworth modified some of the keys in Shaw's Vascular Plants of Northern Utah so that they included more ornamental and greenhouse plants, largely to make it easier to use a wider range of material in teaching plant taxonomy. Otherwise, there was little activity in connection with this goal during 1999.

Increase interest in the region's flora by a conscious effort at outreach

Shaw led two training sessions for naturalists at Great Basin National Park and Grand Teton National Park, respectively. He also led two groups on a field trip around Tony Grove Lake and presented a lecture on alpine ecosystems to the Wyoming Native Plant Society.