The herbarium is integral in the fabric of eight courses at the University of Melbourne, including the School of BioSciences’ courses in plant systematics and diversity.
An important component of these courses is training students in plant identification, the use of a modern herbarium and an understanding of why you might need to access herbarium specimens or collect your own. University herbaria play an important role in highlighting the need for voucher specimens and an understanding of what makes a good specimen. To assist with this, we have developed some documents and guidelines for our students that may also be of use to others. These include:
- How to Make Your Own Herbarium Specimens
- Specimen label proforma
- Guidelines for collecting herbarium specimens during ecological fieldwork (describes what is a voucher specimen and why you should collect them)
The University of Melbourne Herbarium supports postgraduate research within the School in a number of ways. For example, students examine and sample from specimens for phylogenetic, ecological and physiological studies, loan specimens from other institutions for study, and use the collections to help them identify species. The collection also supports postgraduate students more broadly across the university, for instance Masters students from the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation have been conserving the herbarium’s botanical models for their major project.