Grace Lloyd Bascopé: Flora of Belize & Maya Research Project

Resident Research Associate, Grace Lloyd Bascopé, talks about her summers in Blue Creek, Belize working on Flora of Belize & Maya Research Project.
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Collecting Collections; Tiana F. Rehman, BRIT Herbarium

Tiana F. Rehman, BRIT's Herbarium Collections Manager, tells us about the many collections that comprise the Herbarium. This is the first interview of the Library's new Collection Lens series, which highlights collection managers from around the world across botanical libraries and herbaria as collections move into the future.
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A Library Encircling A Herbarium

Imagine a herbarium of just under 400,000 plant specimens in cabinets with a corresponding botany library of 40,000 books lining the periphery, along the walls of the herbarium collection accessible to researchers working in the collection. This was the design of the SMU Herbarium and Library housed on the SMU campus before moving to BRIT in 1991.
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1,000 Ascensions: Madagascar expedition

Climb 1,000 stairs, learn 1,000 new words, see 1,000 new things, share 1,000 conversations These are all just some of the steps involved in discovering new plant species and understanding plant biodiversity – or at least they were on my most recent trip to Madagascar in search of strange and wonderful plant life. The idea of 1,000 ascensions came to me on the second day in the field, on our way to Manongarivo Special Reserve – a protected area, managed by Madagascar National Parks in northwest Madagascar. As we came closer to Manongarivo, my colleagues explained a little about the park. In Malagasy, Manongarivo literally means “go up one thousand times” which refers to low mountains and hills that make up this region. If you want to go to Manongarivo, you better be prepared to go up 1,000...
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Muir, Muir...In Our Halls

It was 1875, and John Muir was a busy man. He was already well-known for his journeys through central and northern California. His writing was published in newspapers and magazines around the country. But he still had time to help someone else. Portrait of John Muir in about 1880 (Credit: Taber and Boyd, Wikimedia) A colleague, John Redfield, wrote to Muir asking for specimens to add to his collection. John Muir wrote back in May of 1875 and promised to collect in a few weeks. True to his word, Muir collected plant specimens in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and sent them to Redfield for study later that year. They continued to correspond about the collections and other scientific pursuits for the next few years. Dryopteris arguta specimen collected in California by John Muir in 1875 Joh...
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Librarian Lens: Plant Discovery In the Southern Philippines Expedition Two

In December of 2019, BRIT Librarian participated in expedition two of the Plant Discovery In the Southern Philippines project.
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Encounters with Plants that BITE!

In late 2018, the BRIT Philecology Herbarium received funds from the National Science Foundation Grant: “Endless Forms most beautiful and most wonderful” to digitize collections of species across 15 plant families that have unique adaptations and morphologies. These plants may live in extreme and highly specific environments that face elevated risks of extinction in the rapidly changing climate that we’re seeing today. Dozens of herbaria across the United States are digitizing their collections representing these peculiar families in an effort to aid in research about their evolutionary history, ecology, conservation tactics, and more. Some of the groups of plants that fall under this grant include epiphytes (such as orchids), succulents (cacti and some euphorbs), and carnivores! The carni...
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Eula Whitehouse's Field Camera

Eula Whitehouse's field camera was recently gifted to BRIT Library by her family.
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Ferns & Lycophytes of the BRIT Herbarium

Ferns and lycophyte specimens in the BRIT herbarium. Many herbaria in the world are represented by curators and research communities that are very familiar with the character and content of their collections, but very few of these have access to accurate numbers and specimen inventories. Digitization funding is a game changer that will provide us with the means to better preserve the collections we hold in public trust. A digitized specimen is a tool that allows access to scientific vouchers and observations that span hundreds of years – an essential component to research that deals with past environmental change and future models. The Philecology Herbarium at the Botanical Research Institute is one of 36 herbaria and museums throughout the U.S. representing the Pteridopytes Collections Co...
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Will the real four-leaf clover please stand up?!

There are many plant species bearing the iconic clover look in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The true lucky clover is believed to be the white clover of the legume family - Trifolium repens . Although Trifolium is derived from the Latin words tres (three) and folium (leaf), a unique genetic mutation causes some plants to grow an additional leaflet! A simple Google search will tell you the likelihood of a four-leaf clover is 1 in 10,000. However, it was not until 2017 that a study was conducted by enthusiasts to see if this number was accurate. They found the frequency to really be 1 in 5,076 ! This is not the only surprise this species brings to the table. Some of these plants across the world not only grow one extra leaflet, but sometimes up to 8 leaflets. There is even a Guinness Worl...
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