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Herbarium

Spring 2003

One hot link: WSU's Ownbey Herbarium Web site

http://www.wsu.edu/~wsherb/

“From Rainforest to Grassland,” on WSU’s Ownbey Herbarium Web site, takes you on a virtual tour of Washington plant communities, from Cape Flattery on the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula to the confluence of the Snake and Grand Ronde Rivers at the southeastern corner of the state. Along the way you not only learn about the state’s varied plant communities-coastal forest, temperate rainforest, salt marsh, Cascade forest, timberline & alpine, sagebrush steppe, meadow steppe, butte slope, and riparian-you also get what amounts to a private viewing of the gorgeous color photographs of Larry Hufford, herbarium director. Hufford’s photos also appear on … » More …

Winter 2008

Fine Specimens

Washington State University is home to three superb research collections, all begun soon after the young agricultural college opened its doors. What makes them research collections, says Ownbey Herbarium director Larry Hufford, is "sheer numbers." The Conner Zoology Museum has about 69,000 specimens, the Herbarium about 375,000, and the James Entomology Collection more than 1.25 million. These numbers make WSU's collections among the best in the nation. » More ...

Tracking a cattle disease

In addition to consulting botanists at the Ownbey Herbarium, retired veterinarian Clive Gay and range scientist Ernie Motteram have dipped into the specimen drawers and expertise at the James Entomology Collection. They have¬† been working with cattlemen in central Washington to pinpoint the insect vectors for pinkeye, the general name for a number of nasty eye infections. Ranchers in Kittitas County have told Motteram that pinkeye is their biggest herd health problem. He says the conventional wisdom that we already know all we need to know about pinkeye is dead wrong. Almost all of the scientific literature on pinkeye is old and doesn’t take into … » More …

Coping with Climate Change

Several years ago, scientists noticed that recent herbarium specimens had been collected earlier in the season than specimens from decades past. Since most plants are collected when they are in flower, that meant they were flowering earlier. The easy explanation was that they were responding to the warmer temperatures caused by climate change. The trouble with that, says Larry Hufford, is that it didn’t happen with every species.

He searched the Herbarium’s database for the first date of collection for several plants common in eastern Washington, and found that the habitat a species lives in may be a factor in whether the plant is now … » More …