Esther Jackson is the Public Services Librarian at The New York Botanical Garden’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library, where she manages Reference and Circulation services and oversees the Plant Information Office.
On Wednesday, January 25, 2017, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., the LuEsther T. Mertz Library will host a Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon focused on creating and enhancing articles for Women in Science. Specifically, we will be highlighting female scientists.
This NYBG Edit-A-Thon is a part of a week of Wikipedia editing events hosted by the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries (CBHL). Other participating institutions include Mt. Cuba Centerand the University of New Mexico. The theme for this series of Edit-A-Thons is “Plants and People.” At NYBG, library staff has elected to focus on creating biographical Wikipedia articles for women who work within several areas of botany—ethnobotany, taxonomy, and plant collecting.
Esther Jackson is the Public Services Librarian at the New York Botanical Garden’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library, where she manages Reference and Circulation services and oversees the Plant Information Office.
Many exciting science books were published in 2016, including an enormous number of more specialized botanical texts. But of all the excellent titles intended for a general audience, a few stood out in particular for me. Here are my favorite popular-science books of the year.
Art & Art History
Botanicum (Welcome to the Museum)catches the eye immediately, its cover adorned with botanical illustrations. Illustrator Katie Scott has breathed contemporary life into her botanical illustrations with an art nouveau-like aesthetic that manages to recall historic botanical illustration styles. Author Kathy Willis has divided the text into “galleries,” titled The first plants;Trees;Palms and cycads;Herbaceous plants;Grasses, cattails, sedges, and rushes;Orchids and bromeliads; and Adapting to environments. This is a beautiful book for casual plant lovers as well as those who are already passionate about botany and botanical art.
In the effort to conserve the planet’s biodiversity, plants tend to be overlooked. People spend much more time and money on “charismatic” species of animals. For instance, 100 percent of the world’s known threatened and endangered animals have been assessed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the most important global institution when it comes to evaluating such threats. But only assessed about five percent of plants have been assessed.
It’s a scary state of affairs, especially considering that so-called biodiversity hotspots are defined by their vascular flora.
The New York Botanical Garden is working to improve awareness and understanding about the botanical world. That was one of the topics when Matt Candeias of the blog and podcast “In Defense of Plants” interviewed Dr. Brian Boom who, among his other responsibilities at the Botanical Garden, is the Garden’s Vice President for Conservation Strategy.
To listen to their discussion about Dr. Boom’s career and how he became so passionate about plant conservation in the modern world, click here.
Stephanie Schmiege, a Ph.D. candidate at the Commodore Matthew Perry Graduate Studies Program of The New York Botanical Garden and at the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology of Columbia University, is researching response of conifers to environmental stress under the direction of Drs. Dennis Stevenson and Kevin Griffin.
The Central Highlands of Vietnam are home to the world’s only known flat-leaved pine. Endemic to this area, Pinus krempfii was first discovered by French botanists, who were astounded by its unique leaves and even confused it with species from an entirely different family. Not only is it the only known pine with flat leaves, it is the only pine we know of that successfully survives in dense tropical forests. Scientists think that the flattened leaves may allow Pinus krempfii to absorb more light than most needle-leaved pines, which in turn facilitates its success in the tropics. However, flattened leaves require vulnerable tissues to transport water throughout the leaves.
This trade-off may leave Pinus krempfii susceptible to changes in climate, particularly drought stress. Climate models for Southeast Asia forecast increasingly long dry periods. How will Pinus krempfii respond to increasing drought stress? Will the unique leaves that have assisted its survival in the tropics prove to be its undoing?