Botanizing Around the Globe

RSABG botanists conduct fieldwork in Tanzania, Africa; Guyana, South America and North America.

J. Travis Columbus, CGU professor of botany and RSABG research scientist, Amanda Fisher, RSABG postdoctoral fellow, and Amanda Ingram, Wabash College professor of biology, traveled to Tanzania to study and collect chloridoid grasses including Halopyrum mucronatum (pictured right).

Postdoctoral research scientist Erin Tripp traversed a never-before-explored mountain, Kamakusa Tepui of Guyana in South America. Tripp and colleagues from the Smithsonian Institution made over 1,100 collections of plants and lichens—from treetop canopies (via climbing spikes) to reach epiphytes to submerged networks of underwater plants, documenting biodiversity of the area for the first time.

RSABG graduate students delve into fieldwork along the West Coast.

Sandy Namoff accompanied Royal Botanic Garden, Kew botanist Richard Brummitt to San Luis Obispo to look for rare Californian Calystegia.

Tommy Stoughton has been sleuthing for species of Boechera, Claytonia, Silene and Androsace at high-elevation sites that include the eastern Sierra Nevada in California and Spring Mountains (outside of Las Vegas), as well as the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountains. He plans to return to several of these sites soon, and will also be looking for Claytonia in British Columbia and further north in Alaska.

Diana Jolles will be traveling through the Rogue River National Forest, Crater Lake National Park and some areas of the Cascade Mountains, in Oregon and Washington, as well as the Olympic Peninsula in Washington to locate and collect a cryptic species of Pyrola.

Later in the summer, Jolles and Stoughton will join a crew heading to the north coast of British Columbia and the Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska to collect Pyrola picta (Ericaceae) and other species.

Delving into her master's degree thesis project, Joy England has been combing the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains in the Upper Rock Creek watershed in Mono and Inyo counties. She plans to return several times this summer to document and collect as many vascular plant species as possible to develop a flora of the watershed.

Master's degree students often take on these projects to gather comprehensive information about little-known areas of California and as a result the knowledge base of our native plants and their habitats are greatly enhanced.