Published on March 31, 2015 11:20 am MT Updated on February 1, 2019 10:40 am MT
The Charles Maurer Herbarium Collection at Colorado State University is actively involved in systematic and floristic research. Specimens at the Charles Maurer Herbarium Collection have been used in studies to document the effects of global climate change, track changing rare and invasive species distributions, and extract DNA for molecular studies.
Current research and projects happening in the herbarium include:
- Assistant Curator Jennifer Ackerfield completed a Flora of Colorado, an updated flora for the entire state of Colorado! In addition to user-friendly keys, the Flora contains detailed species descriptions, habitat information, elevation ranges, flowering times, and synonymy. Also, next to each species description is a distribution map detailing the presence or absence of each species in every county in Colorado. Also included in the Flora are 76 color plates with 12 images per plate – that’s over 900 photographs to aid in plant identification, representing approximately 1/3 of the flora for the state. This will make keying out a plant much faster, efficient, and the user feel more confident in the identification. A second printing was completed in 2018.
- Assistant Curator Jennifer Ackerfield is currently researching “A Prickly Puzzle – the Evolution and Biogeography of the Carduus–Cirsium group (Cardueae: Compositae). For more information on this research, please visit Team Thistle.
- Curator Dr. Mark Simmons also currently works on the systematics of the family Celastraceae.
- Graduate student Maddie Maher recently finished a floristic inventory in Gunnison County.
- The herbarium supplies a learning environment for numerous undergraduate student interns and employees. Approximately 5 – 10 students participate each year, and learn a variety of collection-management techniques (mounting, barcoding, imaging, georeferencing, databasing, and filing specimens) and plant-identification skills. Several previous interns have become inspired to pursue careers in botany and gone on to pursue graduate degrees!
- The herbarium recently acquired a gift of over 15,000 specimens from a private collection, which we are actively incorporating into the CSU Herbarium.
- Past projects also include a floristic inventory of Soapstone and Red Mountain open space by graduate student Jenna McAleer.