Champion Profile: Shelley James & BISH
(Above: Shelley James out in the field.)
What institution does Shelley belong to?
The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum’s Herbarium Pacificum (BISH), Honolulu, Hawaii
What herbarium is Shelley sponsoring?
The National Herbarium at the Papua New Guinea Forest Institute (LAE), Papua New Guinea
What kinds of work is Shelley involved in?
Shelley regularly leads expeditions in Papua New Guinea. In addition to continually discovering new species and recording them, Shelley collaborates with local botanists and is helping to train LAE's staff. As part of this close working relationship, BISH gifted two years of JSTOR Global Plants access to LAE. Researchers and staff at LAE will have full access to the database’s specimens, data, and materials to support their collection and curation of Papua New Guinea’s biodiversity.
When Shelley gave LAE's senior botanist Kipiro Damas a demonstration of what Global Plants could do, his reaction was one of delighted surprise: "Wow! This is amazing!" Clearly, the resource is going to be put to good use in the hands of Kipiro and his team, as they work to catalog their vast array of specimens.
Global Plants is a critical resource in the combined efforts of BISH and LAE to curate and share type specimens from Papua New Guinea, which has some of the most species rich areas with 6% of the world’s flora and much species endemism. Despite the region’s wealth of biodiversity, there is no adequate inventory, nor are there significant specimen collections, of any plant family in Papua New Guinea. Both BISH and LAE strive to document and share this botanical abundance as part of the Pacific Biological Survey.
Why is she sponsoring an herbarium?
Shelley and BISH wished to say “thank you” to LAE for their friendship, assistance, and fieldwork support. Having worked on more than 200 expeditions together, the institutions enjoy a longstanding collaboration--dating back to 1889--of collecting, researching, and documenting the floral biodiversity of Papua New Guinea. Shelley believes that access to Global Plants will help LAE's researchers on several levels, helping them avoid naming errors, exploring confirming their findings thanks to the high-resolution images, and enabling them to fully observe best practices.
Championing LAE also supports BISH’s mission to preserve the natural and cultural history of the Pacific. With the growing challenges of climate change and deforestation, BISH and LAE have an urgent mission to record botanical history and biodiversity before it is lost. JSTOR Global Plants access on site at LAE will support these efforts.
How can YOU become a sponsor?
Anyone can become a Global Plants Champion. Simply select the institution to champion and contact Deirdre Ryan at Deirdre.Ryan@ithaka.org for the next steps to gift JSTOR Global Plants access.