Abstract Detail



Donald J. Pinkava’s legacy – the ASU Herbarium in the Sonoran Desert

Larson-Whittaker, Cole [1].

Observational botany in the face of Arizonas shifting baselines.

Climate change and the rapid spread of novel species have had an effect on all ecosystems, but their impact is felt most strongly in areas of extreme conditions, like the deserts of Arizona, where organisms have evolved to survive on the edge. With the bioinformatic and analytical tools we now have available, we can integrate earlier and current data for a greater understanding of the functioning of these ecosystems. While most of the state has already been studied, it has often been decades since individual areas have had their flora inventoried, and the locations that have yet to be documented are becoming more and more remote. As Dr. Pinkava well understood, an essential part of this work is the careful observation and collection that can only be done by direct fieldwork. Field botany lends itself to an intimate understanding of an area’s distinct plant communities and how they change over the seasons and through the years. Spending my summer driving down the dirt roads of Arizona, searching for rare agaves with Wendy Hodgson and Andrew Salywon of the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden has broadened my botanical knowledge, in areas ranging from floristics to ethnobotany to conservation. In my own research, exploring remote stretches along the Verde River, collecting and documenting my own flora has been critical to my training as a scientist, the hands-on experience of conducting a flora is essential to my understanding of how plants operate in the world.  Fieldwork and direct observation have always been the currency of natural historians, the foundation upon which quantitative analyses and model-based approaches rest.


1 - Arizona State University, School of Life Sciences, 427 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, Arizona, 85281

Keywords:
field botany
Arizona
Verde River
Desert Ecology.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Number: 0012
Abstract ID:1063
Candidate for Awards:None


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