Author: Bernard Goffinet

Vandana Gurung processed major plant collection

Vandana Gurung processing herbarium specimensAs the summer graduate assistant in the herbarium, Vandana Gurung (EEB graduate student, Diggle lab) facilitated the distribution of over 2,000 duplicate herbarium specimens collected by Les Mehrhoff, former collections manager of the G.S. Torrey Herbarium (CONN). Vandana’s work involved comparing a list of Mehrhoff’s collection numbers against a spreadsheet of the 22,000+ Mehrhoff collections already accessioned in the herbarium, identifying collection numbers that do not appear in the master spreadsheet (i.e., specimens filed as “duplicates” that were never mounted and added to the herbarium), and linking the remaining numbers to existing collection data from the database. She prepared excel spreadsheets of collection data which were used to generate rough drafts of over 2,000 labels, and then edited each label to eliminate replicated locality data and to ensure correct formatting. Vandana’s efficiency with R and attention to detail while editing labels expedited the transformation of several herbarium cabinets’ worth of material from mystery specimens to organized, labeled duplicates ready for distribution to other collections once covid-19 shipping restrictions are lifted.

EEB5500 on-line only this fall

Every semester we run EEB 5500 Introduction to Natural History Collections a popular course with lively discussions, tours of the collections and hands-on preparation of specimens. This semester we are on-line only and instead on meetings for four evenings, we will get together weekly for one hour.
EEB 5500 Introduction to Natural History Collections
Virtually explore “behind the scenes” at our state-of-the-art Biodiversity Research Collections
Discover history, threats, research, ethics, and scandals, and observe specimen preparation!
1 Credit, every Monday 11:15-12:05, starting Sept. 14
Instructors: Drs. Sarah Taylor, Katrina Menard, Erin Kuprewicz & Bernard Goffinet
Email for a permission number

Grace Vaziri curating bird collection

Grace VaziriDespite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a shutdown of most on-site operations in the Biodiversity Research Collections (BRC) since March 2020, the Vertebrate Division of the BRC is happy to say that we still were able to have a fantastic graduate student complete some essential work with our fluid-preserved ornithological collection!

Working with Dr. Erin Kuprewicz, our vertebrate collections manager, Grace Vaziri (EEB Ph.D. student, Knutie lab) used her attention to detail and avian expertise to sort, catalog, and label the little-known bird specimens that we currently keep in our spirit collection. Her work involved the assessment of all specimens kept in jars of ethanol, careful notation of specimen data in our catalog, and methodical labeling of all individuals (by tying small archival paper labels to bird legs)—she ultimately catalogued and labeled over 200 birds! Before Grace’s work in the BRC, this sub-collection of our larger bird collection was virtually unknown. With her essential contributions, we can now use these “wet birds” for exciting new research projects and teaching.

New publication based on collections

Sanborn, A.F. The cicadas (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) of Peru including the description of twenty-four new species, three new synonymies and thirty-seven new records.  Zootaxa 4785(1):  1-129. (Monograph ISBN 978-1-77670-945-8)


Abstract reads: The known cicada fauna of Peru is identified. Fidicinoides ptychodiropeda n. sp., Guyalna capnopteryx n. sp., G. chrysinothrix n. sp., G. dyticamazona n. sp., G. spilonotophora n. sp., Carineta acommosis n. sp., C. bitorquata n. sp., C. castaneopercula n. sp., C. dicrophryxothrix n. sp., C. digitata n. sp., C. nigrafissura n. sp., C. quadrofastigiata n. sp., C. rumipataensis n. sp., C. tingomariaensis n. sp., C. tricuspis n. sp., Herrera castanetorquata n. sp., H. cephalodigramma n. sp., H. chanchamayoensis n. sp., H. dentata n. sp., H. moyabambaensis n. sp., H. nigropercula n. sp., H. polygramma n. sp., H. quadrimacula n. sp., and H. viriventralis n. sp. are described as new. Three taxa, Cicada (Prunasis) pulcherrima var. a Stål, 1862a, C. (P.) pulcherrima var. b Stål, 1862a, and C. (P.) pulcherrima var. c Stål, 1862a are shown to be unavailable as well as junior synonyms of Prunasis pulcherrima (Stål, 1854) which is shown to be the correct name for the taxon over the preoccupied Cicada viridula Walker, 1850. The first records of Durangona tigrina Distant, 1911, Fidicina obscura Boulard & Martinelli, 1996, F. robini Boulard & Martinelli, 1996, Fidicinoides descampsi Boulard & Martinelli, 1996, F. determinata (Walker, 1858a), F. duckensis Boulard & Martinelli, 1996, F. pseudethelae Boulard & Martinelli, 1996, Proarna bergi (Distant, 1892a), P. dactyliophora Berg, 1879, P. strigicollis Jacobi, 1907, Guyalna aurora Ruschel, 2017, G. bicolor (Olivier, 1790), G. chlorogena (Walker, 1850), G. distanti (Goding, 1925), G. glauca (Goding, 1925), Majeorona aper (Walker, 1850), M. ecuatoriana Goding, 1925, M. truncata Goding, 1925, Orialella aerizulae Boulard, 1986b, Calyria cuna (Walker, 1850), Prunasis pulcherrima (Stål, 1854), Taphura boulardi Sanborn, 2011a, Carineta boulardi Champanhet, 1999, Carineta cearana Distant, 1906b, C. congrua Walker, 1858b, C. dolosa Boulard, 1986a, C. doxiptera Walker, 1858a, C. ecuatoriana Goding, 1925, C. gemella Boulard, 1986a, C. hamata Sanborn, 2019b, C. matura Distant, 1892b, C. pilifera Walker, 1858a, C. pilosa Walker, 1850, C. ventrilloni Boulard, 1986a, Herrera concolor Sanborn, 2019b, H. melanomesocranon Sanborn, 2019b, and H. phyllodes Sanborn, 2019b are provided. The records for Durangona tigrina Distant, 1911 are the first records of the genus Durangona Distant, 1911 and tribe Durangonini Moulds and Marshall, 2018 and the records for Prunasis pulcherrima (Stål, 1854) are the first for the genus Prunasis Stål, 1862a in Peru. Previous records of Zammara tympanum (Fabricius, 1803), Orialella boliviana (Distant, 1904b), Guyalna brisa (Walker, 1850) and Selymbria stigmatica (Germar, 1834) are considered to be misidentifications of Z. hertha Schmidt, 1919, O. aerizulae, G. dyticamazona n. sp. and S. madredediosensis Sanborn, 2019b, respectively, so that Z. tympanum, O. boliviana, G. brisa and S. stigmatica are removed from the cicada fauna of Peru. The Peruvian records of Dorisiana semilata (Walker, 1850) are shown to be due to an incorrect synonymy of D. metcalfi Sanborn & Heath, 2014 and the species is removed from the faunal list as well. Additional new records of Fidicinoides poulaini Boulard & Martinelli, 1996 are provided for Brazil and Guyalna chlorogena (Walker, 1850) for French Guiana to expand the known distribution of these species. The currently known Peruvian cicada fauna is comprised of 114 described species from 23 genera, eight tribes and three subfamilies with a 115% increase in the known cicada fauna provided here.

New Living Plant Collection Manager

Meghan Moriarty joined the team of the Biodiversity Research Collections, as the living plant collection manager. She comes to us from Logee’s Greenhouse, where she was Head Grower for the last 1.5 years.  Prior to that, she was the Director of Greenhouse operations for Agrivida in the UConn ABL facility for several years.  Meghan has a degree in Environmental Education from Unity College.  With extensive management experience and a deep passion for plants, she is a great addition to an excellent team maintaining and curating the diverse collection of living plants.

New invertebrate collection manager

Katrina MenardWe are delighted to welcome Dr. Katrina Menard to the BRC as the new Invertebrate Collections Manager. Katrina earned her Ph.D. in Entomology at Texas A & M University in 2011. Shortly after graduating, she assumed the role of collections manager of Recent Invertebrates at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History in Oklahoma. Katrina is a broadly trained entomologist with a special interest in plant bugs of the family Miridae. We are excited to have someone with her skills and experience join our team

Two new publications on lichens

Emmanuelia patinifera (photo Lücking)
Emmanuelia patinifera (photo Lücking)

Specimens deposited in CONN were included in this study accommodating species of lichenized fungi from the New World, including the Southeastern United States, in a new genus, as part of the ongoing studies of the evolution of the Lobariaceae.

Simon A., R. Lücking, B. Moncada, J.A. Mercado-Díaz, F. Bungartz, M. Cáceres, E. Gumboski, S. Maria de Azevedo Martinsi, D. Parker & B. Goffinet. 2020. Emmanuelia, a new genus of lobarioid lichen-forming fungi (lichenized Ascomycota: Peltigerales). Plant and Fungal Systematics 65: 76–94. pdf


Abstract reads: The former family Lobariaceae, now included in Peltigeraceae as subfamily Lobarioideae, has undergone substantial changes in its generic classification in recent years, based on phylogenetic inferences highlighting the polyphyly of the speciose genera Lobaria, Pseudocyphellaria and Sticta. Here we introduce the new genus Emmanuelia, named in honor of Prof. Emmanuël Sérusiaux for his extensive work on the Peltigerales. Emmanuelia currently comprises twelve species. It is superficially similar to the lobarioid genus Ricasolia, but differs by its apothecia, rimmed by overarching and often crenulate to lobulate margins, with the parathecium (proper excipulum) and the amphithecium (thalline excipulum formed by the thallus cortex) apically separated and of a different structure. Also, ascospore dimensions and shape differ between the two genera, with the ascospores of Emmanuelia being longer and narrower. Molecular phylogenetic analyses using DNA nucleotide sequences of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) and the small subunit of mitochondrial ribosomal DNA (mtSSU) confirm that Emmanuelia belongs to the Lobaria clade and forms a monophyletic group sister to the lineage consisting of Dendriscosticta, Lobariella and Yoshimuriella. None of the available generic names of lobarioid lichens can be applied to this group, and consequently a new name is proposed for this new genus, which is typified with E. ravenelii comb. nov. Eleven other species are transferred to Emmanuelia: E. americana comb. nov., E. conformis comb. nov., E. cuprea comb. nov., E. elaeodes comb. nov., E. erosa comb. nov., E. excisa comb. nov., E. lobulifera comb. nov., E. ornata comb. nov., E. patinifera comb. nov., E. pseudolivaceacomb. nov. and E. tenuis comb. nov. The genus is represented in North America by three species, including E. lobulifera, which is resurrected from synonymy with E. (Lobaria) tenuis, a South American species, and E. ornata, whose populations were previously treated under E. (Lobaria) ravenelii.


Suspected to represent a new species, populations of Peltigerafrom Papua New Guinea are now recognized as P. serusiauxii: Magain N., B. Goffinet, A. Simon, J. Seelan Sathiya, I. Medeiros, F. Lutzoni & J. Miadlikowska. 2020. Peltigera serusiauxii, a new species in section Polydactylon from Papua New Guinea and Malaysia (Lecanoromycetes, Ascomycota). Plant and Fungal Systematics 65: 139–146. pdf

Abstract reads: Peltigera serusiauxii is proposed here as a new species from Papua New Guinea and Sabah, northern Borneo (Malaysia). The species belongs to the polydactyloid clade of section Polydactylon. Because of its large thalli with a glabrous upper surface, this species was previously identified as P. dolichorhiza, but it differs by its polydactylon-type lower surface and the high amount of dolichorrhizin. It appears to be a strict specialist in its association with Nostocphylogroup IX throughout its known distribution. This is one of many undescribed species remaining to be formally described within the genus Peltigera,especially in Asia and Australasia.

Greenhouse research in Nat. Geo.!

Old math reveals new secrets about these alluring flowers. A model developed by Alan Turing can help explain the spots on these astoundingly diverse flowers—and many other natural patterns as well. This article in National Geographic highlights the recent work by Dr. Yaowu Yuan‘s lab and its work on patterning in Monkey flowers (Mimulus) which he grows in the research greenhouses of EEB.

For pictures follow this link.