Barbara M. Thiers

As Director of the Herbarium, I am responsible for overseeing the Garden's nearly seven million herbarium collections of algae, bryophytes, fungi, lichens and vascular plants.  The New York Botanical Garden herbarium is the largest in the western hemisphere, and among the five largest in the world.  It is probably the world's most actively used herbarium in the number of specimens sent on loan each year, and the number of visitors to the herbarium.  I have been particularly interested in the adoption of computer technology to manage the herbarium and to increase access to its holdings by the scientific community.  I began this endeavor by programming the Gardenís first computerized collection management system, the Herbarium Manager application for keeping track of transactions, and gradually have moved into a more advisory role.  Now I supervise a team of four Herbarium Information Managers who work in conjunction with the Gardenís Computer Services Department to manage the Gardenís Virtual Herbarium.  The Virtual Herbarium is the umbrella under which all the Gardenís electronic collection management activites, current and future, are gathered.

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.  I am currently completing a treatment of the approximately 125 species of Lejeuneaceae that occur in Australia for the Flora of Australia project.

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Selected Publications