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Herbarium Happenings

  • Rob Shepard, recent May 2013 graduate of the Dept. of Biology and student employee of the Center of Excellence for Field Biology has just accepted a graduate assistantship from the University of Arizona. Beginning this August Rob will pursue a M.S. degree in the School of Natural Resources and Environment studying Dendrochronology in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research. Specifically he will study mesquite succession in Southwestern grasslands and examine the sensitivity of mesquite wood to climate fluctuations. In addition to the offer from University of Arizona, Rob has also received offers this year from West Virginia University and Appalachian State. Following his M.S. degree Rob plans to pursue a PhD with an eye toward entering academia in the future. During his time at APSU Rob has been a leader in the APSU Herbarium ( as Collections Manager working with Dr. Dwayne Estes. He also has played key roles on several botany projects, including a floristic survey and vegetation mapping project of the Ocoee River Gorge and the study of a small prairie remnant near Dickson. In the past year, he has been mentored in the science of dendrochronology by Dr. Chris Gentry (Dept. of Geosciences), which has prepared him well for his upcoming appointment in Arizona. Good luck Rob!

  • APSU Herbarium launches the Mid-South Flora Database. To date nearly 7,000 specimen records (14% of the collection) are available for searching. It is anticipated that all 50,000 specimens will be digitzed by Dec. 2013. For this project APSC partnered with SilverBiology (Denver, CO). This project will also connect with the larger effort by the Tennessee Herbarium Consortium (THC) to database more than 425,000 Tennessee specimens in 11 herbaria across the state plus the Vanderbilt Herbarium at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT), Fort Worth.

  • Dr. Dwayne Estes, Director of the APSU Herbarium, has accepted a joint-appointment between APSU and the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) in Fort Worth. He will serve as Biodiversity Explorer and APSU as his base, primarily focusing on floristics, community ecology, and systematics of the southeastern US. 

  • APSU Herbarium acquired a Herbarium Specimen Imaging Station and starting in January will begin imaging all 50,000 specimens in the collection. These images along with the databased label information (approximately 7,000 specimens have been databased to date) will be made available on the new Tennessee Plant Atlas (coming soon). The imaging process should be complete by mid-May.

  • Harvard University Herbarium set to donate 84 cabinets (valued at over $100,000) to Austin Peay State University. This donation will double our current storage capacity of 45,000-50,000 specimens and will allow us to grow well into the future. The cabinets will be received in early-mid January (

  •  APSU art student, Stephanie Parkans, works with Dr. Estes to combine art with botany to produce botanical illustrations of several new plant species from the Southeast.

  • Clea Klagstad (Class of 2012) offered a job as lead botanist for the University of Montana's Montana Natural Heritage Program. She will be moving to Helena in June. She will be responsible for studying high-elevation wetland and riparian communities in the Bitterroot and Bear Tooth Mountains.


  • Former APSU Grad Student Kim Norton employed with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas in Fort Worth. Kim is a 2010 graduate of APSU where she conducted her thesis research on globally imperiled wetlands associated with limestone cedar glades. Kim just submitted her thesis research for publication to the Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas in February.
  • Drs. Dwayne Estes (APSU) and James Beck (Duke University, now at Wichita State) described a new plant species in Systematic Botany, one of the top 100 journals in science. John Beck’s Leafcup (Polymnia johnbeckii) is known only from two sites in Tennessee and nowhere else in the world (see Tennessee Conservationist Article).


  • Dr. Estes describes the Smoky Mountain Sedge (Carex fumosimontana) in Brittonia, the Journal of the New York Botanical Garden. This new species is completely restricted to the highest peaks within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is one of the most common species atop the state’s highest peak, Clingman’s Dome. This species is the first plant to be described from the Park since the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) project began.

  • Dr. Estes, Chris Fleming (BDY Environmental, Inc.), and APSU biology students Angel Fowler and Nathan Parker work to document a major infestation of the exotic plant Hydrilla verticillata in the Obed Wild and Scenic River, Cumberland and Morgan counties, Tennessee.

  • Dr. Estes and APSU Students establish the APSU Native Plant Research and Teaching Garden.