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Abstract Detail

Systematics Section/ASPT

Jobson, Peter [1].

Botany in the Outback – The Alice Springs Herbarium.

The Alice Springs Herbarium (NT) is a regional herbarium of the government-run Northern Territory Herbarium, with the main collection being held in Darwin (DNA). The collections in Alice Springs roughly number 60,000 and concentrates on the arid southern half of the Territory. NT is the only herbarium located in arid Australia and has the highest number of contemporary collections of arid Australia. The holdings are particularly strong in Poaceae, Cyperaceae, Fabaceae s.l, Proteaceae and Solanaceae reflecting current and previous research interests.
The herbarium services other government departments and agencies, as well as having a strong connection with both the Alice Springs Desert Park and Olive Pink Botanic Gardens, the local natural history societies and local schools, including indigenous education programmes. Collection data for specimens are stored in an Oracle data base with a web browser front end developed in Oracle Application Express. The data are used for a broad range of purposes including conservation assessments and feeds into national and international web projects including the Australian Virtual Herbarium and Atlas of Living Australia and GBIF.
Under the Köppen climate classification, Alice Springs has a desert climate with hot, dry summers, and cooler dry winters. Rainfall can occur any time of the year, although the higher rainfalls tend to occur in summer, as a result of the remnants of cyclonic weather systems, or influenced by the tropical monsoon further north. The amount of rain and the time of year it falls influences which annuals and perennials will flower.
While modern integrated pest management methods are employed, the dry climate has helped prevent major pest outbreaks. The greatest potential threat to the collections is fire, as the herbarium is located in bushland on the outskirts of the city and fires are a natural process in the environment.
The Flora of Central Australia (1981) covers this region but is now out of date and is currently being replaced by a multi-entry electronic key using Lucid Builder, incorporating characters not traditionally encountered in standard floras. This data will feed into the proposed eFlora NT.
The surrounding biogeographical regions – the MacDonnell Ranges, Simpson and Tamami Deserts – are rich in species, with endemic species and relictual or disjunct populations being prevalent in the MacDonnell Ranges, making the herbarium ideally situated to document and monitor these species.

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1 - Northern Territory Herbarium, Alice Springs, Department of Land Resource Management, PO Box 1120, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, 0870, Australia

Herbarium networks
herbarium specimen

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 18
Location: Salon 3/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 4:00 PM
Number: 18010
Abstract ID:290
Candidate for Awards:None

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