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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Projects

Page address: http://cset.mnsu.edu/biology/herbarium/programs/projects.html

Completing a Synoptic Collection for the Radichel Herbarium

A synoptic collection includes at least one specimen of every plant species in a given area. Such collections are essential because they allow us to confirm the identities of unknown plants by comparing them to specimens. Minnesota has approximately 2000 native and naturalized species. The Radichel Foundation Endowment provides funds for students to make summer plant collections to complete the synoptic collection. Since 2006, three students have taken part in this project.

Sara Owen examining a specimen

Curatorial Assistant, Sara Owen examines a specimen.

Determining specimens in the Radichel Herbarium

"Determination" is like visiting a doctor to get a second opinion. After a botanist collects and identifies a plant, herbaria strive to get an expert in that group of plants to confirm that the identification is correct. This is an ongoing process in all herbaria—even the largest and most prestigious. A determination label is glued to the specimen, which increases its value. We have determined only a small fraction of our specimens.

Databasing specimens in the Radichel Herbarium

This is one of our most active projects. Label data from every specimen are being entered into a searchable database called Botanical Research and Herbarium Management System (BRAHMS). The Radichel Foundation Endowment provides funds for two to three Curatorial Assistants who include this as part of their duties.

Creating a searchable plant image database for the Radichel Herbarium website

Photographing and/or obtaining photographs of Minnesota's 2000+ native and naturalized species to create a searchable database of images is a long-term goal of the Herbarium.

Flora of Minnesota Project

A flora describes all the species within a region, classifies them, provides lists of older names for cross reference, maps their distributions, and provides a key so people can identify them in the field or from preserved specimens. Various floras have been written for Minnesota B either restricted to specific regions or state-wide but restricted to spring-flowering species. It is hoped that interested students taking Flora of Minnesota (BIOL 442) will perform research in appropriate journals and web databases to update nomenclature and taxonomy. Students' names will appear with their treatments in the finished product, which will be made available on this website.