Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany


Dr. James Solomon

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Dr. James Solomon

Curator of the Herbarium, MBG

Research Interests

• Collections Management
• Botanical History
• Flora of Bolivia
• Database Development

Web Page: Digitizing Engelmann's Legacy

Documenting the Plants Collected by Early Explorers of Western North America and Northern Mexico in the MBG Herbarium. James Solomon is Curator of the Herbarium and oversees a staff of 30 full-time project managers, herbarium assistants, plant mounters, specimen filers, specimen digitizers, in addition to working on Cactaceae and Vitaceae. The herbarium currently contains over 6.2 million sheets – one of the largest such collections in the world, and contains significant holdings of North American material, including type specimens from the early period of western North American plant exploration. Working from St. Louis at MBG, George Engelmann organized some of the earliest botanical explorations into the American West and Northern Mexico. Engelmann’s private herbarium of approximately 98,000 specimens was given to MBG after his death in 1884. Within his herbarium there are a significant number of specimens collected by Engelmann’s associates during expeditions west of the Mississippi River, for example: August Fendler, Josiah Gregg, Friedrich Wislizenus, and Charles Wright. A student can choose one of these collectors as the focus of their project. They will study archival materials and published literature on the person’s collecting activities, locate the collector's specimens in the herbarium collection using Tropicos and personal searches, verify identification, amplify locality data from archival and literature sources, work with MBG staff to digitally image the specimens, and help produce a summary and online electronic catalog. The student will use historical records and literature, handle and manage herbarium specimens, receive exposure to vascular plant taxonomy and nomenclature, data entry and digital imaging procedures.

Dr.  James Solomon Dr.  James Solomon
| Categories: Plant Systematics | Tags: Herbarium Management | Return