My last stop during the fellowship was the University of Arizona. And at the University of Arizona is a herbarium that has a large collection of the plants growing in the surrounding Sonora desert. The building is one of the oldest in Arizona (older than the state in fact), and out the front are fossil trunks, also from Arizona.
They have a newly renovated space with room for databasing and specimen processing. The sign on the wall explains the name change associated with separating the Australian Acacia from the American "Acacia" (below the basketball ring!).
At the U of A herbarium (and most herbaria), the specimens are each stored flat in a moveable shelving unit called a compactus. Here the herbarium's director Dr Shelley MacMahon is in amongst the compactuses showing me the collections.
The collection is housed in an electronic compactus system.
I was very envious! All you have to do is press a button to move a section. In many other herbaria, you have you wind (and wind, and wind) the shelves to get to the one you want.
And there were cycads inside as well as outside. These are Dioon sonorense that grow on the Mexican side of the Sonoran desert.
In 2012, I was awarded a Churchill Fellowship sponsored by the Australian Biological Resources Study.