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Abstract Detail

Floristics in North America: Current needs, priorities and opportunities

Snow, Neil [1], Lendemer, James [2].

Floristics as a foundation for training students broadly in plant and fungal diversity.

An unending task of taxonomy is to document taxa and their distributions. Despite over 300 years of plant and fungal collections from North America, floristic studies virtually everywhere continue to document many previously unknown occurrences at every spatial scale, from the local to the continental.  Our knowledge of fungal taxa, including lichenized fungi, is significantly more limited than that of vascular taxa, even though detailed and current knowledge of fungal taxa and their distributions is equally critical to systematics, ecologists, and evolutionary biologists. More broadly, taxonomists are the keepers and purveyors of plant and fungal knowledge to the world at large. We curate specimens but also oversee the data that are linked to those specimens. It is well known that support for traditional (non-molecular) systematic studies has been in decline for over two decades both across funding agencies and academic institutions. We discuss and summarize floristic studies in which we have participated with students, and discuss why floristic studies by advanced undergraduates and masters degree students are an ideal way to train the next generations of biologists, conservationists, and land-use managers broadly in botanical biodiversity. The ongoing discovery of overlooked and new taxa, even in densely populated areas, imparts the thrill of discovery to students and society. We assert that all botanical students should have substantial experience with floristic diversity early in their training in order to maintain the necessary capacity of specialists needed to fill the many roles served by those trained in plant taxonomy (broadly construed).

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1 - Pittsburg State University, Department of Biology, Kansas, 66762
2 - The New York Botanical Garden, Institute Of Systematic Botany, 200th Street And Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY, 10458, United States

lichenized fungi
vascular plants
broad training in systematics.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: CO13, Floristics in North America
Location: Tucson J/Starr Pass
Date: Wednesday, July 31st, 2019
Time: 3:45 PM
Number: CO13007
Abstract ID:148
Candidate for Awards:None

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