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Abstract Detail

Floristics in North America: Current needs, priorities and opportunities

Zomlefer, Wendy [1], Giannasi, David [2].

The Reluctant Floristician: Supporting a Herbarium at an R1 Institution via Contract Floristic Work.

The discipline of floristics requires rigorous field work and meticulous voucher preparation to accurately record the biodiversity of an area. The resulting specimen sets often comprise the foundation of a comprehensive state collection such as the University of Georgia Herbarium (GA), a repository of 280,000 accessioned vouchers. The value of this type of research, however, may be unappreciated within the departmental culture of an R1 institution that focuses on highly funded, hypothesis-driven research. This presentation highlights our accomplishments and outlines some impediments encountered while conducting a series of 13 floristic surveys from 2003 to 2014. During this twelve-year period, 22 contracts and small grants totaling ca. $300,000, were awarded for floristic work to University of Georgia Herbarium senior personnel by federal and state governmental agencies (e.g., National Park Service) and private entities (e.g., Friends of Andersonville). The projects included vouchered surveys of nine national parks in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, and generation of Coefficient of Conservatism rankings for 3,000 species collected in those parks; verification of rare species localities within the disjunct parcels of the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area; and inventories of a county park plus two private properties along the Ogeechee River in Bryan, Chatham, and Effingham Counties, Georgia. Over 8,000 specimen numbers were collected in duplicate (or triplicate), and 26 undergraduate and graduate students participated in field work and plant identification, typically assisting with multiple surveys in different parts of the state during one growing season. This research, thus far, has resulted in 19 peer-reviewed journal articles and 18 presentations at scientific conferences and stakeholder meetings. Challenges inherent in such contract work included scheduling complications due to concurrent surveys in different parts of the state, the inconstant and often cumbersome reporting protocols required for these agencies, and specimen ownership issues. Nonetheless, any difficulties were far outweighed by the substantial benefits of floristic contract support to GA Herbarium with respect to funds, collections growth, outreach, and student training.

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1 - University Of Georgia, Department Of Plant Biology, 2402 Miller Plant Sciences Building, 120 Carlton Street, Athens, GA, 30602, United States
2 - University Of Georgia, Plant Biology Dept, 120 Carlton Street, Athens, GA, 30605, United States

plant survey

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: CO13, Floristics in North America
Location: Tucson J/Starr Pass
Date: Wednesday, July 31st, 2019
Time: 4:15 PM
Number: CO13008
Abstract ID:304
Candidate for Awards:None

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