Irving Biodiversity Collection
K. C. Irving Environmental Science Centre, Acadia University
32 University Avenue, Wolfville, Nova Scotia B4P 2R6


Acadia Arctic Biological Expeditions

Makinson Inlet, Ellesmere Island

Beginning in 1972 and under the aegis of Commander C.J. Scott, the Biology Department of Acadia University was invited to accompany the Canadian Armed Forces on annual Arctic NORPLOY cruises - initially on board HMCS Protecteur and in later years on other ships - in order to conduct environmental research in the Arctic.

For at least ten years, students and faculty from the Biology Department were able to collect, document and initiate research on Arctic fauna and flora at various northern locations including Baffin, Ellesmere and Devon Islands.

During these Arctic trips, extensive botanical collections were made by the then Herbarium Director, Dr. S.P. Vander Kloet and his students. In excess of a thousand specimens of vascular plants (with a focus on ericads such as Vaccinium uliginosum, V. vitis-idaea and V. oxycoccus and their associates) and mosses and lichens were collected. These are currently housed in the E.C. Smith Herbarium. Many of these collections have been made available over the years to other researchers such as I.G. Alsos of the University of Tromso, Norway for further study and have resulted in numerous scientific papers, e.g.

Alsos, I.G., Engelskjon, T., Gielly, L., Taberlet, P. & Brockmann, C. (2005) Impact of ice ages on circumpolar molecular diversity: insights from an ecological key species. Molecular Ecology 14(9): 2739- .

Alsos, I.G., Engelshjon, T. & Brockmann, C. (2002) Allozyme variation in Betula nana, Campanula rotundifolia ssp. giesekiana and Vaccinium uliginosum ssp. microphyllum in Svalbard: implications for conservation. Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research, 34, 46-46.

Thanks to Sam Vander Kloet and Dan Toews for providing information on these expeditions.

The Gray Herbarium Expeditions to Nova Scotia, 1920-21

River sceneIn the early 1920's, Merritt Lyndon Fernald, an eminent Harvard University professor and noted phytogeographer, led several botanical expeditions to Nova Scotia on behalf of Harvard's Gray Herbarium. Several other New England botanists e.g., R.C. Bean, C.H. Bissell, D.H. Linder, B. Long, etc., joined Fernald at various times during his sojourns in Nova Scotia. Throughout the course of two summers this ever changing but always keen group of New England botanists carried out extensive field work over much of southwestern Nova Scotia These trips resulted in many botanical discoveries which not only contributed significantly to the knowledge and understanding of the local flora at the time but have played an important role in current conservation efforts of rare Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora.

A set of herbarium specimens arising from these expeditions, are deposited in the E.C. Smith Herbarium.

Interesting accounts of these expeditions are found in the botanical journal Rhodora.
See Rhodora 23: 89-111, 130-152, 153-171, 184-195, 223-245, 257-278, 284-300 (1921) and Rhodora 24: 157-164, 165-180, 201-208 (1922).

Margaret S. Brown Collection


The Margaret S. Brown collection at the E.C. Smith Herbarium consists of 1779 mosses, 858 hepatics and 53 lichens. Margaret's specimens are also deposited at the British Museum, Kew Gardens, New York Botanical Gardens, Dalhousie University (flowers and grasses), the New Brunswick Museum, the Nova Scotia Museum and the Devonian Botanical Garden at the University of Alberta.