Tulane University collections

Susan B. Farmer sfarmer at GOLDSWORD.COM
Thu Sep 8 08:20:39 CDT 2005

Quoting Meredith Lane <mlane at GBIF.ORG>:

> Does anyone know what has been the fate of the Tulane U vertebrate
> collections following Katrina?  They are (?) housed in what was a
> military munitions bunker during WWII.  Totally underground and encased
> in several feet of concrete.  Only one door, facing away from the sea.
> Only questions are, was the door water-tight? Were the databases backed
> up on higher ground?  Anybody heard from Hank Bart?

This doesn't exactly answer your question because I still haven't seen
anything definate about the Tulane HErbarium.  These messages are
snipped from emails from Tuesday and Wednesday of this week on the
Herbarium Curators list (no, I"m not a curator, I'm just a student, but
I have an interest in herbaria.)

If you are interested in the full text of these messages, let me know,
and I'll get them to you.  If there is interest, I can also forward
specific messages about specific herbaria to this list as well.

Forwarded messages
Tuesday emails ...

         The herbarium staff in the areas affected by Katrina are just
becoming able to communicate with each other and the outside world. Even
here in Oxford, MS, we were without power and long-distance phone
and were inundated by relatives from south Louisiana seeking shelter.  I
can report that the staff and the collections at University of
(MISS), Mississippi State University (MISSA) and Troy Unversity
in southern Alabama are all OK.  We have yet to hear from Sam Rosso,
Michael Davis and Mac Alford at University of Southern Mississippi, but
word out of Hattiesburg is that the school did not withstand much
damage.   Gulf Coast Research Lab also has an herbarium; I hear that
facility sustained quite a bit of damage, but the main buildings are
intact.  Patrick Biber is their contact person, and I have not heard
anything about him.  We are anxious to hear any news about Steve Darwin
Anne Bradburn (Tulane) and John and Kathy Utley (UNO).


 From Steve Darwin ...
Hello all, and thank you for your concern for the
herbarium collections at Tulane.

I and our curator, Anne Bradburn, are safe and waiting
anxiously to return to campus to assess the condition
of the herbarium and associated library.  My
understanding is that the New Orleans
uptown/university area did not have significant
flooding; the collections are on the third floor of a
fairly substantial building.  My primary concern is
that falling rather than rising water may have
penetrated the building, or that windows may have been
blown in by wind-thrown debris.  The library window is
partially protected by a plywood screen.
Unfortunately, neither Anne now I were in New Orleans
prior to the storm, so we were unable to spread the
plastic sheets we keep available for these hurricane
events.  Nonetheless, all specimens at Tulane are
secured in steel cases and Anne recently replaced the
gaskets on cabinet doors, so we're reasonable
confident that the plant collections are in good
condition.  Crews are now working to repair damage to
campus buildings.  Anne and I will provide more
information as we receive it.

With respect to Barbara Wilson's inquiry about other
natural history collections in the New Orleans area, I
have no information at this tiume, and am trying to
contact Hank Bart, or museum dirctor.  The zoological
collections (mammals, birds, fish, etc.) are housed in
hurricane-proof bunkers at Belle Chasse on the West
Bank below New Orleans.  Reports are that there was
only minor flooding on the West Bank, so, again, my
fingers are crossed that these collections came
through undamaged.  Of course, the prolonged lack of
electrical power and air conditioning may impact the
collections, but power is being rapidly restored in
non-flooded areas.


Wednesday emails .....

We have compiled downloadable list from Index Herbariorum of the listed
herbaria from Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.  The list includes a
concatenation of the email addresses of the correspondents for these
herbaria, suitable for copying into the address line of an email message
for a bulk mailing.  This document can be obtained through the NYBG
website as follows:

(link is on left-hand frame of this page)

Previous messages indicate that other organizations (e.g., AAM, ASPT)
may take responsibility for contacting these and other natural history
collections in the region, and so for that reason we do not plan to
contact these institutions ourselves.  However, if we can help to
obtain, compile or share information on herbaria in this area, we are
glad to do so.


ESA has established a bulletin board on its website
(http://www.esa.org/katrina) to facilitate assistance to ecological and
environmental science colleagues in the Gulf Coast region.  You can help
in two ways:

1.      If you have contact with colleagues in the affected areas,
please alert them to this site as a place to seek help and find
assistance ranging from relocation to laboratory equipment.=20
2.      Visit the site frequently to post offers of assistance or to
respond to specific requests.


Subject: Herbarium at USM Gulf Coast Research Lab
I regret to inform you that the 30 year, 5000+ specimen herbarium at
GCRL was completely flooded and mostly destroyed by Katrina. I am in the
process of determining if anything can be salvaged and how to best go
about doing this. If you have any contacts that could
assist in this process, please contact me on my cell (228) 238 1606 or
contact the lab director (Bill Hawkins) at 228 806-7717.

Dr. Patrick Biber
Assistant Professor
Marine Botany

end forwarded messages .............

Susan Farmer
sfarmer at goldsword.com
University of Tennessee
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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