The botany program conducts research on the biology of rare and invasive plant species, including habitat modeling, biogeography of rare and invasive plants, reproductive ecology and evolution, and ecological impacts of non-native plants. The botany program also offers a wide range of related services including field surveys, monitoring studies, mapping, and conservation planning services.
The botany program is the central repository of biological information on Alaska’s rare and invasive plants and tracks over 600 species. Information and reports of native and non-native plant species are collected, verified, and catalogued into databases: rare vascular plant list, rare lichen list, and the non-native plant database AKEPIC. Data maintained in these databases are an integral part of ongoing research and reflect the observations of many scientists and institutions. We work closely with botanists across Alaska in an effort to ensure the most comprehensive and accurate data sets.
Rare Vascular Plants
Botany program databases contain information correlated to species rarity such as distribution, number of occurrences, population size, population trends, habitat specificity, general ecology, identification, and systematics. This information is collaboratively obtained from various state, federal, and private agencies. Rare taxa are assigned a species conservation status rank based on protocols developed by NatureServe. As new data becomes available, the conservation status of a species is updated.
In spring of 2012, the botany program completed a major update to the biological and occurrence data for over 350 plant species of conservation concern. Taxonomy, distribution, and conservation status were reviewed with the input of botanists from Alaska and Yukon. Additional occurrence data are compiled, entered, and updated on a yearly basis into the rare vascular plant database.
The Alaska Rare Plant Field Guide provides information on the taxonomy, conservation status, distribution, morphology, and ecology of 80 rare vascular plant species of Alaska. The project was funded jointly by the Bureau of Land Management and the University of Alaska Anchorage.
The botany program has completed an initial review of rare lichens in the state and are currently tracking 58 taxa. Additionally, we have included biological and occurrence data in our geospatial database. The development of this species list and associated data involved the input and review of numerous regional and international lichenologists.