TROY Herbarium upgrades allow better resources, storage

The Herbarium hosts more than 55,000 plan specimens.

The Herbarium hosts more than 55,000 plan specimens.

Troy University’s Herbarium has completed upgrades and renovations that have expanded its resources and storage abilities.

An herbarium is a museum collection of dried plant specimens along with associated data, and TROY’s Herbarium collection currently consists of more than 55,000 specimens of vascular plants, mosses, liverworts and lichens.

“This collection serves as a critical resource for biodiversity, ecological and evolutionary research, not only for Troy University faculty and students, but also for researchers from around the world,” Dr. Alvin Diamond, Curator for the Herbarium, said. “An herbarium is not only a record of Earth’s biodiversity, it is also a record of the variation within a species.”

A grant from the National Science Foundation allowed an upgrade to the storage capacity of TROY’s Herbarium and insured that the specimens are “properly housed” and “that the data contained with them is available on the web.”

“The grant allowed us to acquire a mobile storage compactor system to increase storage space along with new cabinets to accommodate growth as well as to replace damaged ones,” Diamond said. “We were also able to acquire a new camera and macro lens for the imaging of specimens and two computers, three monitors, and two external hard drives for use in databasing and imaging specimens as well as storing the data and images.”

TROY also received funding to employ and train two graduate assistants to assist in the process.

The TROY Herbarium’s main collection is located in Room 216 of the Math and Science Complex, and the databasing and imaging center in Room 223.

Due to the delicate nature of the specimens, general access to the physical collection is limited and students must follow specific rules.

“However, all of the data, including images of all Alabama specimens, is available online through a number of portals such as the Alabama Plant Atlas,” Diamond concluded.

TROY’s Herbarium has acquired its specimens primarily through research conducted by the Curators, Diamond and Dr. Michael Woods, their graduate students and undergraduates working with them.

Students may contact either of the curators or go to http://spectrum.troy.edu/~herbarium/ for more information.

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