Disruption… It’s all part of the plan.
The most recent blog from the Colorado Mycoflora project mentioned a “Big Move”. We’ll here’s some clarification as to what that means. As you may well know, the Colorado Mycoflora Project is run through the Sam Mitchel Herbarium of Fungi, which is part of the Department of Research and Conservation at Denver Botanic Gardens. The Department is currently gearing up to move into new digs in March of 2020. The department and its associated herbaria/fungaria (Kathryn Krebel Herbarium and the Sam Mitchel Herbarium of Fungi) have had to deal with more than it’s fair share of disruption over the past couple months in effort to move into this shiny new place…
Part of the disruption involved dealing with breaking down, packing up and moving the conservation genetics laboratory into the herbarium. To pack up the lab, the department worked in shifts to box up and organize laboratory equipment and supplies. Items that weren’t critical for continued research over the next several months, were carefully packaged and labeled for offsite storage. Everything that is needed to get population genetics and molecular systematic data for plants and fungi has found a home in the herbarium.
To fit the lab into the herbarium, a lot organization needed to take place, and a lot of space that was previously held supplies for specimen processing had to be repurposed. One of the big tasks for us was sorting and packing all of the mycological literature. Some of it was old books. But there was also Orson Miller’s Gasteromycete literature that he donated to the Mitchel Fungarium. In addition were old, unpublished manuscripts by Alexander Smith. Much of this will be archived and available through the DBG library for future study.
Now that the lab has been set up, we’ve been focusing on preparing the herbarium for the big move. We’ve been imaging the fungal collections for insurance purposes, and we’re also strategizing the reorganizing of the collections to reflect systematic relationships in fungi. Our new facilities will be exciting to break in, but the transition will be extreme. The herbarium will be moved above ground, from relative obscurity, to front and center in the new building. In fact, as soon as you walk in the front door of the Freyer-Newman center in the large atrium, the herbarium is positioned directly in front of you (see image below). The laboratory space will be on the second floor. It will more than double in size, with a superior space for conservation genetics, and a brand new ecology lab.
It’s a very busy and very exciting time for us. In a few months, I’ll start sharing our first experiences.