USGS NAU Macrobotanical Laboratory


Paleoecological, stratigraphic, archaeological, and modern ecological studies often require identification of small plant parts. The USGS-NAU Macrobotanical Laboratory is a collaboration between the NAU Quaternary Sciences Program and the USGS Southwestern Biological Research Center. The laboratory also serves as an archive for fossil packrat middens and other types of fossil plant deposits. Many of the laboratories macrobotanical reference specimens can be viewed online in the Macrobotanical Digital Library.

The laboratory maintains several research collections such as its macrobotanical comparative collection. This collection contains over 2500 specimens of seeds, leaves, fruits, flowers, and twigs of identified plant species. The collection is primarily focused on the plant species of the Colorado Plateau, desert and Mediterranean California, the Great Lakes region, and the Middle East. These collections are used to support ongoing research projects in all of these areas by NAU faculty and students as well as USGS scientists.

A separate collection of pollen mounted on microscope slides from these regions is also maintained. The laboratory also maintains fossil materials from past studies of packrat and rock hyrax midden studies. There are currently about 400 midden deposits under curation.

Director: Kenneth L. Cole, Ph.D.
Lab Phone: 928/556-7466 ext. 247
Phone: 928/556-7466 ext. 230
FAX 928/556-7500