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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Washington DC
We inspire curiosity, discovery, and learning about nature and culture through outstanding research, collections, exhibitions, and education. Comment policy: http://www.si.edu/Termsofuse
Recent Activity
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. Smithsonian botanists have trained a deep learning model to identify fern genera of specimens on herbarium sheets with an average of 90.5 percent accuracy (see cover story in this issue of The Plant Press). For the genus Trichomanes, the model is... Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2018 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. As the Department of Botany approaches digitizing its 2 millionth specimen later this year, it’s worth noting some important numbers and figures in its effort to digitize the United States National Herbarium’s collection of nearly 5 million specimens. 9 The number... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2018 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. By Nora Frankel Plants have always been an integral part of human material history. This may be no surprise to a botanist, but for me, it is sometimes still a revelation. As a conservator, it is my job to understand the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2018 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. The curators of the Department of Botany have many responsibilities, primarily independent research on plant taxonomy and systematics and the responsible care and interpretation of specimens within the collection of the U.S. National Herbarium. Often, curators take on additional roles. Currently... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2018 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. A metalpoint drawing of Rosa carolina by Kandy Phillips. The drawing was inspired by the poems of Emily Dickinson. A selection of metalpoint drawings by local artist Kandy Vermeer Phillips will be on display beginning October 10 outside the Department of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2018 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. For some time plant specimens in the U.S. National Herbarium have been mysteriously moving from one case to another. Sometimes the event would happen early in the morning, other times it would happen over the weekend. Whole plant families would simply... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2018 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. Israel Lopes da Cunha Neto, a doctoral student from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, is a recipient of a 2018 Jose Cuatrecasas Travel Award. He visited the US National Herbarium in August to work on his project, “Diversity and evolution... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2018 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. Department of Botany intern Fiona Miller from Smith College worked with Vicki Funk during the summer of 2018. During her 10 weeks at NMNH she contributed to the Smithsonian Women in Science project (part of the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2018 at The Plant Press
From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. On 1 August, Liz Zimmer, W. Carl Taylor, Peter Schafran, Destiny Waag, Shruti Dube, Erika Gardner, Steven Canty. Julia Steier, and Fiona Miller worked with Gabriel Johnson to lead an introductory botany class to a group of 21 local high school... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2018 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. Adapted from ASPT News Blog The American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT) has selected Vicki Funk as its 2018 Asa Gray Award recipient. The prestigious award—named after arguably the most influential North American Botanist of the 19th century—recognizes lifetime achievement in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2018 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. The US National Herbarium typically attracts visiting research scientists interested in examining specimens in their field of study. The herbarium also serves as a destination in education. Undergraduate and graduate students interested in botany, ecology, evolution, molecular biology, and conservation biology... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2018 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. November 11, 2018, is Veteran’s Day and the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day. Armistice Day is commemorated to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany for the end of fighting on the Western Front of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2018 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. Alex White Alex White is a post-doctoral fellow with a joint appointment in the Department of Botany at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) and the Data Science Lab in the Smithsonian Office of Information. White is working with Laurence... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2018 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. Marcelo Pace and Andrew Rozefelds received an award in recognition of their recent paper describing the discovery of the first wood fossil of Vitaceae in the Southern Hemisphere. The Journal of Systematics and Evolution presents awards annually to recognize the papers... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2018 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. In 1995 the Biological Diversity of the Guiana Shield (BDG) Program was in need of a new database manager. Judy Skog, then a Professor at George Mason University, recommended one of her students, Tom Hollowell, as a smart and capable person... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2018 at The Plant Press
From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. Stuart Davies, David Kenfack, Lauren Krizel, Mauro Lepore, and Gabriel Arellano traveled to Nové Hrady, Czechia for the 8th Annual ForestGEO Analytical Workshop from 19 July to 3 August. The workshop provided an opportunity to bring global participants together to foster... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2018 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. On 2 September 2018, a devastating fire destroyed the 200-year-old National Museum of Brazil (Museu Nacional) in Rio de Janeiro. The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) has a long history of collaboration with Brazilian scientists and many of them are... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2018 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 4, October 2018. By Alex White For many biologists, a core joy of our work is observing the natural world, formulating questions about our observations, and testing our ideas using clever experiments. Days are spent exploring museum cabinets or mountain valleys – few of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2018 at The Plant Press
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The Paleontological Society of Washington 7:00 pm, Wednesday, October 17 National Museum of Natural History, Constitution Ave. entrance From Filter-Feeding Plesiosaurs to Miocene Megalodon (a double-header) Stephen Godfrey Curator of Paleontology, Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons, MD I will first describe the aristonectine elasmosaur Morturneria seymourensis from the upper Maastrichtian of... Continue reading
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 3, July 2018. At the 2018 Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, “Plants in the Past: Fossils and the Future,” fossilized Zingiberales was among the many plant groups discussed. As part of the Zingiberales program at the Smithsonian spearheaded by Curator John Kress and colleagues, Alice Tangerini... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2018 at The Plant Press
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By Lotte Govaerts I recently returned to the lab, after having spent most of my summer in Belgium. I have settled back in, and picked up where I left off back in June. Among other things, I have resumed work on the cataloging project I begun in late 2017. You... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2018 at Rogers Archaeology Lab
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 3, July 2018. -Adapted from Pensoft Publishers Originally collected 28 years ago in Ecuador, new species Poa laegaardiana has been just described, only to find out its prospects for surviving in its type location seem bleak nowadays. The study was published in the open... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2018 at The Plant Press
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Powerful Hurricane Irma altered the marine fauna of Ten Thousand Islands, Florida as it blew through on Sept. 10, 2017. One of the most prominent observations in its aftermath was the appearance of a marine invertebrate species that is not commonly found in this area, Molgula manhattensis. This species was... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2018 at No Bones
The Paleontological Society of Washington 7:00 pm, Wednesday, September 19 National Museum of Natural History, Constitution Ave. entrance Amphibians, lizards, and snakes from the Age of Dinosaurs and the end-Cretaceous mass extinction David G. DeMar, Jr. Postdoctoral Research fellow, Paleobiology Dept., Smithsonian Institution. The Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction, which famously... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2018 at Paleontological Society of Washington
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From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 3, July 2018. The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) celebrated National Pollinator Week 2018 in June in an effort to raise awareness of the decline of important pollinator populations. On June 23, the Smithsonian Institution hosted Solstice Saturday, a Smithsonian-wide celebration kicking off... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2018 at The Plant Press