|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 479 July 24, email@example.com||Victoria, B.C.|
Keeping up with name changes is a challenge, especially if your interests in botanical biodiversity span both marine and terrestrial environments. At the recent Botany BC Meeting in Metchosin (26-29 June 2014) I led an intertidal field trip to view seaweeds at Whiffin Spit in Sooke, Vancouver I. Participants who had previously learnt some of the common local seaweeds were surprised by the number of name changes, for example: In the Browns, Hedophyllum is now Saccharina (as are some Laminaria spp.), Cystoseira is now Stephanocystis, in the Reds, Delesseria is now Cumathamnion, Laurencia is now Osmundea, Serraticardia is now Johansenia, Porphyra is now split in to several genera with most being placed in Pyropia, and in the Greens, Enteromorpha is now Ulva. And that doesn't even get to species level name changes!
One of the historically interesting species name changes that we discussed on the field trip is the subject of this note. A common red seaweed that we encountered was, until recently, known as Prionitis lyallii. This morphologically variable species was described by the Irish botanist, William H. Harvey (1862), based on specimens collected by David Lyall and C.B. Wood in 1859, in Esquimalt, near Victoria, and along Juan de Fuca Strait, respectively.
Earlier expeditions to the NE Pacific also collected marine algae, which were eventually described by European botanists, but in some cases, the specimens were fragmentary and their provenance uncertain, so the names fell into disuse. Two examples relevant here are: 1. Prionitis jubata collected on the Russian expedition (1826-1829) under the command of Capt. Fedor P. Lütke, possibly at Sitka Alaska, and described by J. Agardh (1851), and 2. Prionitis sternbergii* collected by Tadeá Haenke in 1791, on the Malaspina Expedition (1789-1794), either at Nootka Sound, Vancouver I., or Monterey, California. (*Originally described by C. Agardh (1822) as Sphaerococcus sternbergii.)
Enter DNA sequence data. Gabrielson (2008) was able to obtain DNA sequence data (partial rbcL and, in some cases ITS-1) from type material of all three species. All were identical, and based on this, P. lyallii and P. jubata were synonymised under P. sternbergii.
Given that the chloroplast rbcL gene is very conserved, it would not surprise me if future analyses, using other gene sequence data, result in further name changes.
Also, for interesting accounts of Tadeá Haenke and the Malaspina Expedition see articles in BEN (Botanical Electronic News) http://bomi.ou.edu/ben/ben287.html & http://bomi.ou.edu/ben/ben288.html See also Slavik, B. & A. Ceska. 2006. Haenke's life and times (1761-1816). Menziesia 11(1): 12-13. http://www.eeb.uconn.edu/people/les/Manuscript_Files/menziesia_11(1)_2006.pdf
The Vascular Flora of British Columbia project (VFBC) was initiated in September 2013 and is a collaborative effort led by the University of British Columbia herbarium (UBC) and the Royal British Columbia Museum herbarium (V). The decision was made to publish a new vascular flora in recognition of 1) the large number of taxonomic, floristic and nomenclatural changes since the publication of the Illustrated Flora of BC (IFBC) in 2002, and 2) a critical mass of skilled botanists keen to contribute their time and expertise. The goal of the project is to produce in-depth illustrated treatments and keys to the families, genera, species and infraspecies of native and naturalized vascular plants that occur in the province. Maps delineating the geographic distribution of species and infraspecies will also be published based on georeferenced herbarium specimens. Our goal is to produce both electronic and hard-copy versions of the VFBC to accommodate the needs of a wide range of users. To minimize costly travel and loans between herbaria, we have adopted a 'two-herbarium' approach in which a taxon author will base a treatment on specimens in his/her home collection and the treatment will be reviewed, tested and improved using specimens in the other collection. A treatment of Caryophyllaceae is currently underway and will provide measures of the time and effort required per taxon. Based on these metrics, we will develop a timeline and budget for completion of the VFBC project.
The Herbarium Forays were initiated by Richard Olmstead in 1996. They are annual field trips to different parts of the region covered by the authoritative flora for the area, Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest, by C.L. Hitchcock, et al.
The Forays serve a number of purposes:
At each foray, there are usually ca. 500-600 collections made in triplicate (dupes used for exchange). Each annual foray is followed by a series of evening sessions during the fall and winter, when foray participants and other volunteers identify the plant specimens. The collection data are entered into a database by staff and volunteers, and labels are produced. Foray specimens are then added to the WTU Herbarium collections, and used in the exchange program.
On June 30, Richard Olmstead wrote to BEN: "You may not be aware of the Idaho herbaria foray program. It was started in 2008 by Jim Smith (SRP) and Don Mansfield (CIC) after they joined us for a foray to Steens Mt., OR in 2007. It picked up steam in 2011 when Dave Tank (former student of mine and veteran of several WTU forays) took over as curator at ID, and we all joined forces for the foray that year. They rotate the logistics and hosting of the foray among the four herbaria."
For the Idaho program see http://www.uidaho.edu/herbarium/research/herbariumforays See also: http://www.wnps.org/PNWFlora.htm
Nancy Turner has studied Indigenous peoples' knowledge of plants and environments in northwestern North America for over forty years. In Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge, she integrates her research into a two-volume ethnobotanical tour-de-force.
Drawing on information shared by Indigenous botanical experts and collaborators, the ethnographic and historical record, and from linguistics, palaeobotany, archaeology, phytogeography, and other fields, Turner weaves together a complex understanding of the traditions of use and management of plant resources in this vast region. She follows Indigenous inhabitants over time and through space, showing how they actively participated in their environments, managed and cultivated valued plant resources, and maintained key habitats that supported their dynamic cultures for thousands of years, as well as how knowledge was passed on from generation to generation and from one community to another. To understand the values and perspectives that have guided Indigenous ethnobotanical knowledge and practices, Turner looks beyond the details of individual plant species and their uses to determine the overall patterns and processes of their development, application, and adaptation.
Volume 1 presents a historical overview of ethnobotanical knowledge in the region before and after European contact. The ways in which Indigenous peoples used and interacted with plants - for nutrition, technologies, and medicine - are examined. Drawing connections between similarities across languages, Turner compares the names of over 250 plant species in more than fifty Indigenous languages and dialects to demonstrate the prominence of certain plants in various cultures and the sharing of goods and ideas between peoples. She also examines the effects that introduced species and colonialism had on the region's Indigenous peoples and their ecologies.
Volume 2 provides a sweeping account of how Indigenous organizational systems developed to facilitate the harvesting, use, and cultivation of plants, to establish economic connections across linguistic and cultural borders, and to preserve and manage resources and habitats. Turner describes the worldviews and philosophies that emerged from the interactions between peoples and plants, and how these understandings are expressed through cultures' stories and narratives. Finally, she explores the ways in which botanical and ecological knowledge can be and are being maintained as living, adaptive systems that promote healthy cultures, environments, and indigenous plant populations.
Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge both challenges and contributes to existing knowledge of Indigenous peoples' land stewardship while preserving information that might otherwise have been lost. Providing new and captivating insights into the anthropogenic systems of northwestern North America, it will stand as an authoritative reference work and contribute to a fuller understanding of the interactions between cultures and ecological systems.
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