Academy Botanist Explores the Highest Mountain in Madagascar

Tsaratanana Madagascar

October 2019

Academy Research Associate Dr. Heritiana Ranarivelo conducted a botanical expedition in October in the remote and difficult to access area of the restricted reserve of Tsaratanana, the highest mountain in Madagascar. It is one of the most pristine forests in Madagascar. Heritiana and his team collected from the lower elevation of the rainforest all the way to the summit of the mountain (9000 feet). The identification of the specimens is in progress and discovery of new species is expected.


Academy Botanist Elected Next President of SPNHC

Dr. Debra Trock

September 2018

Dr. Debra Trock, Director of Collections and Senior Collections Manager in the Botany Department of the California Academy of Sciences, has been elected next President of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC). SPNCH is an international organization dedicated to the preservation, conservation and management of natural history collections, and to advocating for collections' value to society.

Dr. Trock's induction was held during the annual SPNHC meeting in Dunedin, New Zealand, Aug. 25 - Sept. 1, which she attended with Academy colleagues. Her term as President will commence at the 2020 SPNHC conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Congratulations President-Elect Trock!


Botany Hosts Visitors from Brazil and China

Botany visitors 2017

December 2017

The Botany Department is hosting visitors from Brazil and China. Ricardo Pacifico, a graduate student from Brazil, and Dr. Wenzhang Ma (Dennis), a visiting researcher from China, are currently spending time at the California Academy of Sciences.

Ricardo (left) is spending six months at CAS working on the Molecular phylogeny of the Microlicieae (Melastomataceae), an assemblage of species largely restricted to the cerrado biome of Brazil. The Microlicieae is monophyletic but the circumscription of several of the genera have been problematic. In the course of his work he is trying to determine monophyly of several of the seven genera currently assigned to the tribe. Ricardo has also been working with Curator Emeritus Frank Almeda on the identification of Microlicieae made during several CAS sponsored expeditions to Brazil during the last decade and a half. Hundreds of collections of Melastomataceae made on these expeditions are now identified and available on the CAS Botany website.

Dennis (right) is visiting from the herbarium in Kunming Institute of Botany (KUN), Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. His main research foci include taxonomy, ecology and systematics of mosses from southeast Asia.

Funding for Dennis's several visits to CAS from 2013 to 2017 has been provided by various sources, including the Lakeside Foundation, the CAS Bryophyte Expedition Fund, the CAS China Heritage Fund, and the Overseas Study Program, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Dennis is working on the bryophyte collections in the herbarium of the California Academy of Sciences, and he is preparing manuscripts for publication with a special focus on mosses that grow in alpine and rheophytic habitats.


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Senior Collections Manager
Debra Trock
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