The Botany Division
Historical Notes - Page 4
Another significant reorganization of the Division led to the creation of eight sections namely: Phanerogamy; Ethnobotany or Economic Botany; Pteridology; Bryology; Mycology; Phycology; Palynology; and, Herbarium (PNH). This strategic organizational move, which is still in effecf to this day enabled the Division to function more systematically and with greater mastery. Thus, the research and development agenda of the Botany Division flourished.
Believed to be yet another major event in recent years is the use of advanced technological equipment in the study of pollens. The scanning electron miscroscope or SEM was used for the by Dr. Bulalacao in her research on “Pollen Flora of the Philippines” and the first institution that allowed her to use such equipment was the Palynological Laboratory, Swedish Museum of Natural History in 1987. This was followed in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London in 1996 and 1997 when she was introduced to their light microscopy and SEM equipment.
The “Flora of the Philippines Project” was initiated in 1990 as a collaborative activity of the Philippine National Museum and the Bishop Museum of Honolulu, Hawaii. Dr. Domingo A. Madulid, in charge of the Philippine National Herbarium, and Dr. Seymour H. Sohmer, then Chairman of the Botany Department of the Bishop Museum, were co-principal investigators of the project. Dr. Sohmer later transferred to the Botanical Research Institute of Texas at Fort Worth. Divided into three phases, i.e., plant inventory, collections management and writing/documentation phases, the project received financial support from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. A.I.D. and the MacArthur Foundation. A total of 17,049 specimens, mostly in 10 duplicates, were collected from 1990 to 1995. The specimens were distributed in Philippine, Malesian, European and American herbaria. A total of 10,759 backlog PNH specimen records were entered in computerized database, and a total of 331,206 herbarium specimens were processed and curated. The third phase of the Flora project is about to begin. Funding from the American sponsors have been consumed and efforts are now directed at seeking more funds to continue the writing phase.