The New York Botanical Garden


Barbara M. Thiers

Patricia K. Holmgren Director, William and Lynda Steere Herbarium and Vice President for Science Administration

Ph.D., University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA (1982)
Expertise: Tropical Hepaticae, Herbarium Management, Biodiversity Information Management


As Patricia K. Holmgren Director of the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, I am responsible for overseeing the Garden's 7.3 million collections of algae, bryophytes, fungi and vascular plants and the approximately 30 staff members who manage these collections. The Steere Herbarium is the largest in the Western Hemisphere, and among the four largest in the world. It is the world's most heavily used herbaria in terms of the number of specimens loaned or imaged on demand, and the number of visitors to the Herbarium. I have been particularly interested in the application of information technology to herbarium management, and to increasing access to specimen-based data for the scientific community. These interests have led to the development of The C. V. Steere Virtual Herbarium, which contains a searchable database of digitized herbarium specimens (2 million so far, with 100,000 added each year). The Virtual Herbarium also includes Index Herbariorum, of which I am the Editor, the Index to American Botanical Literature, and World Floras and Monographs, an electronic publication series. I have been involved in the development of the Network Integrated Biocollections Alliance, a nationwide initiative to digitize all biodiversity collections housed in U.S. institutions. The subject of my research is the Hepaticae. In particular, I am interested in the systematics and morphology of the largest family of Hepaticae, the Lejeuneaceae. This family is primarily tropical in distribution, and its members can be found growing, often profusely, on the bark and sometimes on living leaves of trees in tropical rainforests. My studies of these small but beautiful plants have taken me to Australia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Papua New Guinea, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

Selected Publications

1982. Branching in the Lejeuneaceae I: A comparison of branch development in Aphanolejeunea and Cololejeunea. Bryologist 85: 104-109.

1982. Type studies in the Lejeuneaceae. I. Archilejeunea pabstii, Hygrolejeunea pacifica, and Hygrolejeunea spongia. Brittonia 34: 294-298.

1983. Type studies in the Lejeuneaceae. II. Pteryganthus, a new subgenus of Lopholejeunea. Brittonia 35: 81-86.

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