Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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Department ofBotany

photo by M. Robbins

Our newest collector's report!

Carol L. Kelloff, Sara N. Alexander, V. A. Funk, and H. David Clarke. 2011. H. David Clarke, 1995-2004. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany Number 97: 1 - 307. [click the link to download it as a pdf]

The BDG Program, and our own Vicki Funk, are featured in a video in the current exhibit "More than Meets the Eye" at the Museum of Natural History.

Click on the image or on this text to see how digital technology has changed the way we discover and study plants and animals (the video will open in a new tab or window.)

Garcia-Milagros, E. and V.A. Funk. 2010. Improving the use of information from museum specimens: Using Google Earth© to georeference Guiana Shield specimens in the US National Herbarium. Frontiers of Biogeography 2.3. Courtesy of the International Biogeography Society.

Ornamental Garden Plants of the Guianas:An Historical Perspective of Selected Garden Plants from Guyana, Surinam, and French Guiana
by Robert A. DeFilipps. Published by the Department of Botany, Smithsonian Institution, 1992

The BDG Specimen Search and Maps, online January 2010, allows you to find collections by country, species, genus, or family, to display information on individual specimens, and to visualize collection localities using Google Maps.

An update to the 2007 Checklist of the Plants of the Guiana Shield has been published by Christian Feuillet. It comprises more than 700 additions, corrections, and synonymies, and can be downloaded along with the original publication on our plant checklists and publications page.

Focus on Research Associates: The Passion of Christian Feuillet. A feature on Christian Feuillet, researcher, curator, and Passifloraceae specialist (as well as editor, see above) at the Department of Botany, was written by our own Vicki Funk. It appears on page 6 of the July - September 2009 (volume 12, no. 3) issue of The Plant Press.

The Second International Congress on the Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield will showcase advances made in biodiversity research, and provide a forum to share experiences in the use and management of biodiversity in the Guiana Shield. The conference will be held from August 1-4, 2010 in Macapa, Brazil. See the official website for information.

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A video introduction and tour of the BDG Program is available on YouTube.


The Checklist of Freshwater Fishes of the Guiana Shield (Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington, Number 17) includes 16 pages of vivid photographs illustrating over 100 species (follow the link to the Vertebrate Checklists page in order to download the PDF file).

Hollowell, T. 2009. Plant Community Structure, Fire Disturbance, and Recovery in Mangrove Swamps of the Waini Peninsula, Guyana. Contributions to the Study of Biological Diversity. Volume 3: 1-166. (PDF format)

Interactive maps using Google Maps API trace collecting expeditions made by BDG Program resident collectors, complete with stories from the field, photo galleries, and full lists of plants collected. Currently, full expedition information is available for five collectors: John J. Pipoly, Lynn J. Gillespie, Tim McDowell, H. David Clarke, and Karen M. Redden.

Kelloff, C.L. 2008. Structure and diversity of a riparian forest at Kaieteur National Park, Guyana. J.Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 2(1):521-545.

Georeferencing Plants of the Guiana Shield: US Types. Type specimens in the U.S. National Herbarium from the Guiana Shield region have been georeferenced and a Google Map display and Google Earth placemarks are provided. A discussion of the methodology for determining coordinates for older specimens is presented.

The “Field Checklist of the Birds of Guyana, 2nd Edition.” (Braun, M.J, D.W. Finch, M.B. Robbins and B.K. Schmidt. 2007) contains 814 bird species that have been documented as occurring in Guyana. It is aimed at a general audience and is set up for bird watchers to be able to check off the species that they see.

The “Checklist of the Plants of the Guiana Shield” (Funk, V., T. Hollowell, P. Berry, C. Kelloff, and S.N. Alexander, 2007) covers all vascular plants known to occur in the Guiana Shield region of northeastern South America. It is the product of the combined efforts of two research initiatives, the Smithsonian Institution’s Biological Diversity of the Guiana Shield Program (BDG) and Missouri Botanical Garden’s Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana.

The BDG and Dr. Pat Herendeen, currently at the Chicago Botanic Garden (NSF grant) co-sponsored Dr. Karen Redden as a post-doctoral fellow to work on the Leguminosae collections from the Guiana Shield and to organize, participate in, and analyze results from collecting expeditions to the Guiana Shield. In 2007 she spent three weeks as a resident collector in Guyana, and also made a collection trip to French Guiana. On these trips she made about 935 botanical collections, most with silica collected leaves for DNA work.

From January to April of 2007, Dr. Karen Redden made an expedition to Warashema and the Meamu Mountains in the Middle Mazaruni region of Guyana, accompanied by C. Perry, P. Benjamin, and D. Singh. The Meamu Mountain area is a fascinating amalgam of tepuis and lowland rainforest, and both mountains and the creeks leading to the mountains had never before been explored. The team collected over 600 plant specimens, including at least three newly identified species, one new hybrid, and numerous species that had never before been collected in the surrounding areas. This area also has a very diverse fauna; they observed two jaguars, a cock-of-the-rock lekking ground with over 40 birds, tapir, peccary, 3 species of monkeys, anacondas, and numerous other birds, reptiles, mammals and fishes.

Warashema mountain, Guyana
Warashema mountain, Guyana.

Cristián Samper, Director of the National Museum of Natural History, and Hans Sues, Associate Director for Research and Collections, traveled to Guyana with Vicki Funk and Carol Kelloff in February 2007 to look at field sites and review the progress of the Biological Diversity of the Guiana Shield Program.

Hans Sues, Christian Samper, and Vicki Funk on a canopy walk
Hans Sues, Christian Samper, and Vicki Funk on a canopy walk in Iwokrama rainforest in Guyana

The University of Guyana is using students interested in biodiversity studies to work in the CSBD collections to help process and curate under the supervision of the Scientific Officers. This work/study program is helping the students lean more about the field of museum collections and has provided CSBD with a workforce. The CSBD has also begun a monthly biodiversity seminar, under the direction of Calvin Barnard. This seminar is open to staff, students, and the public.

Funk, V.A. 2007. The Guiana Shield: 20 years and counting. The Plant Press 10 (2): 1, 12-15.

Feuillet, C. 2007. Folia taxonomica 3. Passiflora davidii (Passifloraceae), a new species in subgenus Passiflora and a key to the sections of supersection Stipulata. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 1(2): 895-898.

Updated January 2010

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