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Abstract Detail

Developmental and Structural Section

Whitlock, Barbara A. [1].

Re-illuminating the Swingle Plant Anatomy Reference Collection.

In 1943, Walter Tennyson Swingle retired from his career at the USDA but not from his studies of tropical botany. Swingle moved to the University of Miami and began an ambitious survey of the systematic anatomy of tropical crops and their little known wild relatives. An archive of his working materials survives today as the Swingle Plant Anatomy Reference Collection: 26,000 slides, mostly serial sections, from 575 species of tropical and subtropical plants. Although Rutaceae account for over half of the slides, reflecting the focus of Swingle’s interests and expertise, 68 families are represented. Now the images on these slides can be seen in a new light, through a digitization effort in collaboration with the University of Miami Libraries. To date, 1500 digital micrographs have been captured by a team of undergraduates and posted online (, along with a digitized catalog to the entire collection. This project honors Swingle’s intent to preserve and share these collections whose scientific value has only begun to be explored. However, the striking visual images from these slides and the ties of the collection to local Miami history have already captured the imagination and interest of the non-scientific community. The collection has also proven to be an excellent tool for educational outreach to undergraduates, many of whom have little prior exposure to botanical science.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - University of Miami, Department of Biology, Coral Gables, FL, 33124, USA

plant anatomy
natural history collections
tropical botany.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 51
Location: 555B/Convention Center
Date: Wednesday, August 4th, 2010
Time: 8:00 AM
Number: 51001
Abstract ID:765

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