Grant and bequeathed funds allow UOG Herbarium expansion

The UOG Herbarium recently received the International Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Grant with the help of a large bequeathed contribution that matched the grants dollar-for-dollar requirement.

The late Lynn Raulerson, Ph.D., was the former Herbarium Curator. Raulerson bequeathed approximately $200,000 of her personal funds for the the Herbarium, which has funded the herbarium for the last three years since Raulerson’s passing.

Wei Xiao, Ph.D., current UOG Herbarium Curator, used Raulerson’s contribution to apply for the IMLS grant earlier this year and was granted approximately $98,000.

Raulerson is Xiao’s predecessor, and was one of the major collector for UOG herbarium. The UOG Herbarium is the only herbarium in the Marianas, however, there are other smaller variations located in Palau and Yap.

Xiao stated, “The herbarium currently holds approximately 50,000 specimens, with a large number of backlogged specimens that need to be curated and added to the electronic cataloging system.” According to Xiao, “the herbarium project is possible because of the IMLS Grant.”

The IMLS grant allows the Herbarium to expand the collection capacity by purchasing new collapsible shelves for maximizing storage space for data and specimens. The herbarium collection contains different species but mainly focuses on West Pacific region and is part of a special exchange program for the Pacific.

Alana Santana Torres, a current plant taxonomy student said that she’s learned a lot from working at the herbarium. Santana was tasked with creating the herbarium’s protocol for collecting specimens. “Plant taxonomy was not my first choice, but the class has been life-changing especially learning about the significance of different plants around the island,” Torres said.

Unfortunately, UOG does not have a degree program specifically for Herbarium study. However, plant taxonomy can be used to pursue other Science tracks.

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