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College of the Atlantic/Acadia National Park Herbarium
The College of the Atlantic/Acadia National Park Herbarium (HCOA) maintains a collection of nearly 15,000 dried vascular plants, algae, liverworts, mosses, lichens, and mushroom fungi. Most of these specimens are from coastal Maine, but our collection also includes plants from elsewhere in the United States and Canada. The herbarium's major collections include the Plants of Acadia National Park and the Plants of Coastal Maine — the latter collection was compiled by the noted naturalist Dr. William H. Drury, Jr., one of COA's earliest faculty members.
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In addition, the herbarium has a large collection of plant specimens and original botanical notebooks from Dr. Craig Greene, COA's botany professor from 1980-2003. Greene's records were instrumental to the production of The Plants of Acadia National Park, a popular guide to the flora of Mount Desert Island, the Schoodic Peninsula, and Isle au Haut. The herbarium is also a repository for botanical specimens from senior projects and other student research at College of the Atlantic.
The herbarium is a cooperative project of College of the Atlantic and Acadia National Park and serves as an important resource for both institutions. Its collections record the past and present flora of Mount Desert Island and surrounding areas, allowing botanists to observe differences in species with respect to time and geography. The dried specimens are used to identify unknown samples by macroscopic and microscopic comparison, for which the herbarium has a selection of microscopy equipment. The herbarium also has a small but comprehensive library of books and periodicals about botany in New England.
Several COA classes utilize the herbarium, including:
- Trees and Shrubs of Mount Desert Island
- Landforms and Vegetation
- Edible Botany
- Plant Systematics
- Lichen Biology
- Ecology and Biology of Fungi
- Bryophyte Biology
- Numerous senior projects and independent studies
HCOA houses voucher specimens for the following publications co-authored by COA’s students, alumni, and faculty:
Medeiros, I. D., A. M. Fryday, and N. Rajakaruna. 2014. Additional lichen records and mineralogical data from metal-contaminated sites in Maine. Rhodora 116: 323-347 (PDF).
Mansfield, M., N. Pope, G. Mittlehauser, and N. Rajakaruna. 2014. Diversity and Soil-Tissue Elemental Relations of Vascular Plants of Callahan Mine, Brooksville, Maine, USA. Rhodora 116: 283-322 (PDF).
Barton, J., B. Ciccotelli, J. E. Gall, F. C. Olday, B. Connery, T. B. Harris, A. M. Fryday, and N. Rajakaruna. 2014. Lichens of six vernal pools in Acadia National Park, ME, USA. Evansia 31: 31-39 (PDF)
Harris, T.B., N. Rajakaruna, S.J. Nelson, and P.D. Vaux. 2012. Stressors and Threats to the Flora of Acadia National Park, Maine: Current Knowledge, Information Gaps, and Future Directions. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 139: 323-344. (PDF)
Rajakaruna, N., T. B. Harris, S. Clayden, A. Dibble, and F. S. Olday. 2011. Lichens of Callahan Mine, a copper and zinc-enriched Superfund site in Brooksville, Maine, U.S.A. Rhodora 113: 1-31 (PDF)
Ciccotelli, B., T. B. Harris, B. Connery, and N. Rajakaruna. 2011. A preliminary study of the vegetation of vernal pools of Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine, USA. Rhodora 113: 260-279 (PDF)
Pope, N., Harris, T. B., and N. Rajakaruna. 2010. Vascular plants of adjacent serpentine and granite outcrops on the Deer Isles, Maine, USA. Rhodora 112:105-141. (PDF)
Rajakaruna, N., N. Pope, J. Perez-Orozco, and T. B. Harris. 2009. Ornithocoprophilous Plants of Mount Desert Rock, a Remote Bird-Nesting Island in the Gulf of Maine, USA. Rhodora 111: 417-448. (PDF)
Briscoe, L. R. E., Harris, T. B. Harris, E. Dannenberg, W. Broussard, F. C. Olday, and N. Rajakaruna. 2009. Bryophytes of adjacent serpentine and granite outcrops on the Deer Isles, Maine, USA. Rhodora 111:1-20. (PDF)
Harris, T. B., Olday, F. C., and N. Rajakaruna. 2007. Lichens of Pine Hill, a periodotite outcrop in Eastern North America. Rhodora 109: 430-447. (PDF)
Greene, C.W., L.L. Gregory, G.H. Mittelhauser, S.C. Rooney, J.E. Weber. 2005. Vascular Flora of the Acadia National Park Region, Maine. Rhodora 107: 117-183. (PDF)
Additionally, HCOA specimens have been examined by outside researchers for various papers, including those listed below:
Haines, A. 2004. Draba glabella (Brassicaceae), New to Maine. Rhodora 106:55-59.
Brunton, D. F., and D. M. Britton. 1993. Isoetes prototypus (Isoetaceae) in the United States. Rhodora 95:122-128
Dr. Nishanta Rajakaruna (COA '94) serves as the herbarium director. The herbarium curator is Geneva Langley (COA '94), who is also in charge of the Wild Gardens of Acadia. Their work is supported by a small team of work-study students who have taken botany classes; this team of curatorial assistants currently comprises Linnea Harold, Ellen Iida, Ella Samuel, Gaia Lopez Barrera, and Ian Medeiros. Ian is mounting plant specimens collected by Luka Negoita for his 2011 senior project on Little Duck Island, confirming lichen and bryophyte species identifications. Linnea is photographing our macrofungi collection for inclusion in a nationwide database. Ellen is cataloging vernal pool lichens of Acadia. Ella is photographing vascular plants, and Gaia is labeling National Park specimens.
We would also like to give a special thank you to Marilyn Wiberley of Bass Harbor, Maine and Alcoa, Tennessee, who volunteered with the herbarium this past summer.
c/o Dr. Nishanta Rajakaruna
105 Eden Street
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
Location and Hours
The herbarium is located on the second level of the Arts and Sciences building, adjacent to the botany lab. See the campus map for more information.
Due to a small staff the herbarium has no standard hours; if you wish to use the herbarium please contact us to schedule an appointment.