The Stillinger Herbarium serves as the official repository for voucher specimens for all ecological and evolutionary research that investigates the origin and maintenance of biological diversity conducted by students, faculty and staff at the University of Idaho. The herbarium organizes several floristic projects and collecting trips each year that are primarily focused on the vast, undercollected areas of Idaho, helping to expand our knowledge of the flora of the interior Pacific Northwest.
The herbarium's collections are recognized as a valuable resource by local, national and international researchers, students and professionals, with approximately 250 visitors per year. These visitors range from the interested public, Native Plant Society members, and private consultants, to university students, academic researchers and federal agency botanists. In addition, specific parts of the collection are often loaned to other institutions for systematic research, which increasingly includes the removal of tissue for genetic analysis in molecular systematic and population genetic studies. Likewise, the Stillinger Herbarium receives research loans for ongoing systematics research by University of Idaho students and faculty.
The herbarium also has an active exchange program that sends and receives duplicate specimens regularly with institutions from across the country. Because the majority of herbarium collections are comprised primarily of specimens from the regional flora, active exchange programs greatly increase the geographic breadth of herbarium collections, while at the same time providing researchers, professionals and institutions throughout North America specimens for comparative study.
The Stillinger Herbarium is an active participant in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria, created in 2007 to bring together regional herbaria and provide an online portal to access the wealth of existing and emerging information about the flora of the Pacific Northwest. As part of the Consortium project, specimen digitization (imaging and databasing) is part of routine curation in the herbarium, and the Stillinger Herbarium has also organized the digitization of multiple small regional herbaria.
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The Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria was created in 2007 to bring together regional herbaria and provide an online portal to access the wealth of existing and emerging information about the flora of the Pacific Northwest.