Transformations in Indiana Plant Ecology

Early botanist Charles C. Deam created the first herbarium collection in the state, now the foundation of the IU Department of Biology Herbarium.

Deam collected specimens in all 1,016 townships in the state between 1909 and 1940, and these 78,000 specimens serve as a record of plant life in the state at that time. Deam kept meticulous records of the places he visited and, over the years, many of these locations have changed dramatically due to the development of housing, commercial property and farmland.

This project will bring scientists and citizens together to revisit Deam’s localities to identify changes in plant communities since he collected. Researchers will use Deam’s logbooks, notes and records held at the herbarium, IU Archives and the IU Lilly Library to identify some of the locations in the state where plant specimens were collected.

These materials will be compared with Deam’s original records and presented together in an exhibition format. The exhibition will travel to sites around the state, accompanied by a catalog citing the changes in plant life and the local ecology found now in these locations.

This collaboration is part of the Communication with Impact working group.