#iamabotanist – taxonomist

Yesterday was Taxonomist Appreciation Day

A day in the life of… A taxonomist…

Working with collections

Yesterday in our Herbarium, taxonomists along with the staff and volunteers that support their work were busy… A quick tour of the building and catchup found a diversity of activities underway…

  • acacia_redet_IMG_2872


    Reviewing specimens for a species that has had a recent taxonomic description published to establish which specimens might have to be updated… this means checking them agains the new taxonomic features, changing the specimen determination (which is the botanists name assigned to the specimen), writing the determination slip, sticking to the sheet then getting the database updated—phew!


  • Responding to public enquiries on the identity of a new plant found growing on someones private property and determining if it was a weed (or not!).
  • Processing plant specimens for incorporation into the herbarium collections.
  • Recording data from microscope slide preparations of specimens for use in taxonomic assessments.



  • Writing a summary of the current space needs in the herbarium collections.
  • Loan returns

    Coordinating the return of loans which have come from other herbaria.

  • Meeting external researchers to collaborate on collections of new specimens on field trips.
  • Preparing edits to a taxonomic publication.







Lab work

  • Analysis of DNA samples that will be used to help understand our flora’s diversity.
  • Using images of pollen to understand plant diversity.

    Stackhousia monogyna pollen






  • Managing the collections, sorting specimens, preparing for analysis.
  • Entering data into the collections management database.
  • Preparing data for use in external databases.

    Data management

And yesterday was a quiet day…