About the STRI Herbarium
Mireya Correa has been the president of the Mesoamerican and Caribbean Herbaria Network since 2002.
Mireya Correa's professional life has grown parallel to Panamanian herbaria. She joined the US Army Tropic Test Center's Herbarium in 1968. The Army's Herbarium was later administered by Florida State University and the Missouri Botanical Garden at the Summit Garden in the Canal Zone. As result from the Panama Canal Treaties, it was transferred to STRI, and located at the Tivoli basement until 1990 when it was relocated at the Tupper Laboratories.
In 1967, Correa co-founded the University of Panama's Herbarium. Her work at the University of Panama (UP) and STRI's herbaria rendered the catalog of Panamanian vascular plants Catálogo de plantas vasculares de Panamá, published with Carmen Galdames and Maria Stapf, in 2004. This beautifully illustrated volume compiles the species registered and described for the Flora of Panama.
Correa and collaborators continue their work identifying, photographing, describing and documenting the flora of the one the richest ecosystems on Earth: the Isthmus of Panama. Correa is the president of the Mesoamerican and Caribbean Herbaria Network since 2002, is member of the Flora Neotropica Board of the New York Botanical Garden, manages both herbaria, STRI's and the UP's—that work in close collaboration— teaches at the University and serves as staff scientist at STRI.
"Taxonomy is a dynamic science. New species, new records found and better information can always be obtained with novel techniques" explains Mireya Correa.
These days, Correa and collaborators are digitalizing all information contained in both Panamanian herbaria, STRI's and the one at the University of Panama (UP), to construct a website.
Allys Lu enters the information compiled on the labels of each plant specimen and Carla Chizmar revise the text and enters the exact location where it was collected. The actual plants are scanned at the UP's Epson high resolution scanner and the images are sent to colleagues around the world to consult the veracity of some records.
The website will have data on the geographic distribution of the species, will have links to pollen data, the photograph, and the database of STRI's Center for Tropical Forest Science.
"Students and staff from both Panamanian herbaria meet every month to maintain quality control and set the rules" comments "Profesora" Correa. The STRI Herbarium has 44% of all species registered for Panama, and 70% of all genera.