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Title: Reflections on a lifetime of collecting germplasm – a childhood dream realized

item Spooner, David

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2012
Publication Date: 10/24/2012
Citation: Spooner, D.M. 2012. Reflections on a lifetime of collecting germplasm – a childhood dream realized [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. Paper No. 374-1.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The importance of taxonomic monographs in all areas of plant biology, ranging from ecology, to biodiversity conservation, to breeding has long been known. The keys, illustrations, descriptions, localities, habitat data, distribution maps, synonymies, cytological and molecular data, and hypotheses of relationships characteristic of a complete monograph are all immensely improved as a result of access to data available in the field or in local herbaria. There are clear advantages of fieldwork for monographic studies including: (1) ability to document published distributions better and to greatly expand these data, (2) access to taxonomic data that may be obscured on herbarium sheets (as colors, odors, glandularity, branching patterns), (3) ability to take photographs for species illustrations or habitats, (4) access to ecological and populational data useful to understand possible hybridization or isolating mechanisms, (5) access to population variation, (6) ability to collect material useful for morphological or cytological or molecular studies (as liquid-preserved collections, fixed flower buds, or silica-dried tissue), (7) ready access to herbarium collections, including types, in herbaria in countries where the plants grow, and (8) access to local experts or local residents who may lead you to new localities or provide critical data in other ways. There are so many advantages to be gained from fieldwork that it is hard to imagine writing a monograph without it. This talk will explore these, and try to impart a sense of the fun and excitement of a lifetime collecting germplasm for the US Germplasm System.