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Laboratories and Facilities

Herbarium: Access and Usage Policy

The combined Oregon State University and University of Oregon Herbaria are located in 1045 Cordley. For information call Aaron Liston, Director, at 7-5301 or Richard Halse, Curator, at 7-5297. The Herbarium is the central facility for the University's research in plant systematics, public service through the identification of plant specimens, and answering inquiries about plants of the Pacific Northwest. In addition to providing the principal training ground for students in plant systematics, the herbarium serves as a source of information and specimens for researchers at OSU and other institutions. The herbarium is utilized for providing identification, distribution data and bibliographic data on Oregon plants, including rare and endangered plant species; advising on floristic surveys of important natural areas; and providing information on human-related concerns such as weeds, edible plants, poisonous plants, wildlife food plants, anthropological materials, wildflowers, and cultivated plants. The herbarium also serves as a repository for plant collections made by other state agencies.

The herbarium contains approximately 330,000 named specimens of seed plants, ferns, mosses, algae, and fungi. Emphasis is on collections from western North America. The herbarium is the repository for the 32,000 specimen Morton E. Peck Herbarium of Willamette University, an important historical collection for the study of Oregon flora. The Peck Herbarium is maintained separately from the OSU Herbarium. The mycological collections consist of approximately 50,000 specimens of fungi and lichens, including the H.C. Gilbert Myxomycete Collection and the Forest Service Pathology Herbarium.

The OSU Herbarium is thus a regional resource which is utilized by a wide range of people in addition to OSU researchers and staff. Visiting scientists, representatives of federal and state agencies, non-profit institutions, as well as private consultants and businesses all make use of the collection. The following guidelines are designed to facilitate the use and study of the collections while preserving their integrity for future users.

Herbarium Access

The Herbarium is generally open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. For after hours use, the following categories of people may have key access to the herbarium, Herbarium Library, and specimen processing room. The list of people with key access will be reviewed annually by the herbarium director. Key access may be revoked at any time by the department chairperson or the herbarium director.

  • 1. OSU faculty, staff, and graduate students actively engaged in herbarium-based research.

    2. "Herbarium research associates" are persons not formally affiliated with OSU who are actively engaged in herbarium-based research, as evidenced by scientific publications or monographic work in progress, or appointed by the herbarium director and subject to departmental approval. HRA's must renew their status annually.3. All other herbarium users are considered "visitors" and may use the collection only during normal operating hours.

Herbarium Practices and Etiquette

  • 1. All visitors utilizing the collection are requested to sign into the visitor's log book.

    2. Only freezer-sterilized specimens may be brought into the herbarium. The entrance of live or freshly collected specimens into the herbarium is prohibited. The conference room (1040 Cordley) and processing room (1038 Cordley) are available for the study of such material.3. No food or drink may be taken into the herbarium.4. Visitors unfamiliar with the arrangement of the herbarium or the proper handling of herbarium specimens must request assistance.5. Herbarium cabinets should be left open for as short a time as possible in order to limit the entrance of insects. Cabinets must be closed as soon as specimens are removed. Do not leave carts or foot stools in the aisles.6. Visitors may use the tables along the north wall of the herbarium for the study of specimens. Once finished, the specimens should be left in the area marked for refiling. The herbarium staff will refile specimens.7. Visitors who will be using the collection for longer periods of time may request temporary storage space from the Curator.8. Persons making use of the collections must cite the Oregon State University Herbarium as the source of their information in publications and reports.9. Upon publication, a copy of reports and publications referencing the herbarium collections should be sent to the herbarium director.

Specimen Handling

  • 1. In general, specimens should be handled in a manner that will conserve them for future use.
  • 2. Materials may be removed for anatomical, palynological, or biochemical study only with the permission of the curator or director.
  • 3. Dissections and removal of parts for special study should be done judiciously. Please place all removed material in a packet mounted on the sheet. The identification of non-vascular plants often requires microscopic examination. Please consult with Dr. Joey Spatafora (7-5304/7-5305), Curator of the Mycological Collection, for recommendations concerning the documentation and preservation of microslides.
  • 4. The assistance of the curator or director should be requested for access to the type specimens cabinet.

    5. The annotation of specimens is appreciated. Permanent ink and the labels provided by the herbarium should be used.

Plant Identification by Herbarium Staff

The identification of plant specimens is an important service provided by the herbarium staff. The limited resources available to provide this service require the following restrictions.

  • 1. The primary user of herbarium staff for identifications is the Agricultural Extension Service. Identifications provided to them will have the first priority. Other federal, state, and non-profit institutions may submit plants for identification. In general, plants will not be identified for "for-profit" purposes.
  • 2. In cases of medical emergency, identifications of suspected poisonous plants will be promptly attended to.
  • 3. Plants to be identified may be submitted in any form. Identification will be greatly facilitated, however, if well-preserved, or fresh, flowering material is submitted with complete label data. The herbarium staff should be consulted for advice on preserving plant materials for identification. We are aware that at times only incomplete or fragmentary plant material is available (for example, forensic samples) and although reasonable effort will be made to identify such material, the reliability of the identification may not be absolute.
  • 4. In general, entire collections or material of unknown provenance will not be identified. Persons submitting plants for identification are expected to have made an effort to identify them with the resources available to them before resorting to the herbarium staff.
  • 5. Plants sent in for identification will not be returned to the sender unless special arrangements have been made.
  • 6. Although every effort is made to insure the accuracy of identifications, the Oregon State University Herbarium and the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology assume no liability for the consequences of misidentification.

7. We are not able to certify mushrooms as edible.

OSU Herbarium Accessions

Specimens added to the herbarium collection originate from staff collections, donated specimens from state and federal agencies or private individuals, and in exchange from other herbaria. Due to space limitations, the acceptance of any specimen into the collection is subject to the approval of the herbarium director.

  • 1. Specimens incorporated into the herbarium collection must be of high quality. In general, only complete, well-preserved specimens with full label data will be accepted.

    2. Specimens from all geographic regions may be incorporated into the collection. Specimens from Oregon and the Pacific Northwest will have the highest priority in terms of accessioning.3. Specimens from localities which are already well-represented in the collection (e.g., the Corvallis area) will not be added to the herbarium unless they are of special significance.

  • 4. Many journals require the citation of a herbarium specimen documenting the identity of a studied species. The herbarium encourages the deposition of such "research vouchers" from Oregon State University faculty and staff into the collection. Research vouchers however must meet the same standards of quality applied to all other specimens. A specimen which is incomplete, poorly preserved, or lacking accompanying data is of limited value to other researchers and defeats the purpose of depositing vouchers.
  • 5. It is expected that scientists requesting grants for work which will generate substantial numbers of voucher specimens will budget funds to cover the cost of processing vouchers. Please consult with the herbarium director for specific recommendations.
  • 6. Duplicates of specimens incorporated into the collection will be included in the exchange program with other institutions. The continuation of existing exchanges and the initiation of new exchanges is dependent on the quality and geographic origin of the specimens received.

Herbarium Loan Policy

  • 1. Loans of specimens are made only to recognized institutions of botanical research. Loans are for a period of twelve months. An extension of twelve months may be requested in writing to the herbarium director. Specimens may be temporarily removed from the collection for display or teaching purposes by OSU faculty and staff with the permission of the curator or director.
  • 2. The OSU herbarium borrows specimens from other institutions. All researchers interested in borrowing material should make a written request to the director or curator. The request should include the purpose of the study, the institutions involved, and a detailed list of the taxa and/or specimens required.

Greenhouses and Growth Chambers

Greenhouses are available and equipped for most uses. Facilities available to qualified faculty and students include table space in temperature controlled hallways and rooms, potting soil, and soil autoclaves. Buildings are divided between two ranges, East Range and West Range. There are 15-1/2 rooms in the West Range and nine rooms in the East Range assigned to Botany and Plant Pathology faculty and staff. If a faculty member you are working with doesn't have space, you can often find someone willing to loan his/her space or make arrangements with the greenhouse manager in East Range for more space, as all rooms or tables are rarely in use all at the same time. Space assigned to faculty in other departments can sometimes be used with their approval. Most work on crop plants and plant diseases is done at West Range. East Range is usually used for classes. In addition to greenhouses, there is limited lathhouse and screenhouse space outdoors which some faculty members currently use.

As a general greenhouse policy, all graduate students are expected to contact the greenhouse office when beginning to work in greenhouses. An initial visit is necessary for familiarization of basic facility policies on environmental control, space use assignment, right-to-know act of 1985, key issue, building maintenance, etc.

The greenhouse facilities are run by manager, Jim Ervin (7-2381), and several technicians. There are also student workers and resident interns to take care of upkeep, watering and miscellaneous duties. All greenhouse workers are required to take a short "class" on Workers Protection Standards (WPS). Routine services which are performed by greenhouse personnel include watering, soil mixing, and insecticide applications. Each user is, however, ultimately responsible for keeping an eye on his/her own plant material for pest build-up and proper care. Special requests for pesticide application or help with some operations can be arranged with the manager. Fungicide and fertilizer application is the responsibility of each user. The staff are more than willing to help with problems and day-to-day care when asked.

In addition to State-run greenhouses, the USDA Horticulture Crops Research Labs have limited greenhouse and screenhouse facilities for use by USDA employees and their students.

On greenhouse grounds in the West Range, there are at least ten growth chambers used by faculty in the Botany and Plant Pathology Department. These are used most of the time. There are also many growth chambers which are assigned to members of Crop Science and other departments. As with assigned greenhouse space, use of growth chamber space can often be arranged with the faculty member in charge. Limited space is also often available in three controlled environment rooms on the 4th floor of Cordley Hall.

OSU Plant Clinic

The OSU Plant Clinic, directed by Melodie Putnam, is in room 1089 of Cordley Hall. The Plant Clinic is a diagnostic facility in support of the OSU Extension Service. The Clinic is open 8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon. Samples of diseased plants are received primarily from County Extension agents, representatives of agriculture-oriented companies, nurseries, and other commercial crop growers and home gardeners. The Clinic will also diagnose problems with plants used for research. Stop by the Clinic for information on what constitutes an appropriate sample and other details. There will be a charge for most services provided by the Clinic.

Field Laboratories

The primary research Field Laboratory for most members of the department is located about 1/2 mile east of Corvallis on the north side of Highway 34. In most instances, arrangements for using land and/or performing experiments will be made through the student's major professor. On the occasion when a student resolves the problems of paying for land rent and acquiring previously established plants, such as trees, arrangements for using the field lab space should be made by contacting the Field Lab Manager, Steve Cluskey, at 7-3435. Questions concerning facilities and equipment at the Field Lab should be directed to the manager. 

Some things to keep in mind:

  • 1. Rent is charged to the user for all reserved land. An annual fee is charged for land use and additional fees are added for application of chemicals, e.g., herbicides and fungicides.

    2. Various kinds of equipment are kept at the Field Lab. No equipment should be used nor should any experiments be performed without first contacting the manager.3. Clean up after doing any work. Don't leave anything behind when you leave. The farm crew does not have time for this type of work.4. Do not borrow any tool or item of equipment without checking it out with the manager. Write down requested information on a provided sheet before taking anything out of the shop or equipment area. Do not use land or equipment used by another research project without asking permission.5. If something breaks while you are using it, be sure to tell the manager.6. Each research project has designated one or two individuals through whom all requests for land preparation, irrigation, etc., are channeled to the farm manager. Please review correct project procedures with the major professor.

In addition to the Botany and Plant Pathology Field Lab, students should be aware of other research farms managed through other departments and through the Agricultural Experiment Station. The Crop and Soil Science Department has three farms. The main research farm is Hyslop Farm, located north of Corvallis about halfway between Corvallis and Albany on Highway 20. The two others are the Schmidt Farm (near Hyslop) and East Farm (near the Botany and Plant Pathology Field Lab). The Agricultural Experiment Station has other field research areas throughout the state.

The Horticulture Department has two research farms. The vegetable research farm is near the Botany and Plant Pathology Field Lab. The Lewis-Brown Horticulture farm, which is involved primarily with fruits and turfgrass, is located southeast of Corvallis, about one mile south of Highway 34 on Peoria Road near the USDA Germplasm Repository.

As with the Botany and Plant Pathology Field Lab, arrangements for use of equipment, land, and facilities at these farms should be made through the major professor and the superintendent/manager at each farm. (Nothing should be used or done at any of the farms without first contacting the superintendent/manager.) The availability of land and facilities at these farms for use by students in the department is dependent on many factors (e.g., available land, facilities and type of project). Project procedures and farm operations will probably vary between farms.


The Electron Microscopy Instrument Manager, Teresa Sawyer (7-5245), can assist with equipment and advise on photography through light and electron microscopes.

Photographic Services

The University's Student Multimedia Services (SMS) is a full-service multimedia unit, including equipment loan, poster and thesis printing, multimedia support, and video editing and dubbing. SMS is located on the 2nd floor of the Valley Library. Normal turnaround time is about one week. A rush capability exists for an extra charge. Payment may be made with cash, purchase order or with a departmental index number. For a list of services contact SMS at 7-3332.

Light Microscopy Services

The Electron Microscopy Facility (EM Lab) is located in Linus Pauling Science Center Room 145. The facility houses both a transmission electron microscope and a scanning electron microscope. Charges are made for instrument beam time, technical assistance, film and specimen preparation services.

The EM Lab provides instrumentation, skills, and when necessary, specialized training necessary to visually analyze microstructure of solid biological and physical substances. Bulk, particulate and macromolecular materials in the 5 cm3 to 2 Angstrom size range can be imaged with this equipment. The EM Lab operates as a service business and offers the analytical procedures described below.

Instrument operation and specimen preparation services are provided. In most instances clients are required to have facility personnel operate instruments, although users are invited to be present during microscopy sessions. Clients are strongly encouraged to consult with the staff regarding experimental design, data requirements, sampling, specimen preparation and scheduling before committing experiments to microscopy. There is no charge for estimates or for consultants requiring less than two hours of staff time. Specimen preparation and technical assistance services are limited to those directly pertaining to electron microscopic procedures. All results and sample materials not consumed for microscopy are returned to the client.

More detailed information for particular projects may be obtained from the EM Manager, Teresa Sawyer , in Linus Pauling Science Center 145 (7-5645).

Kathy Cook, a graduate of Botany & Plant Pathology, does routine microscope service, cleaning and alignments, instruction, technique development, consultations, and histological preparations on a fee basis. Contact Kathy at 541-928-9769.

The Electron Microscope Facility maintains a small inventory of compound microscopes available for use in field research or for short-term, defined-period loans for graduate student research projects. Contact Teresa Sawyer (7-5645) concerning light microscope loan conditions and arrangements.


  • Please Note: Do not remove any microscopes from the teaching laboratories for any reason!! These instruments are dedicated to the instructional laboratories. When classes are not using the microscopes, they must remain in the teaching labs for cleaning, service, and inventory activities. It is the responsibility of the supervising professor, the department’s teaching inventory, to provide graduate students with light microscopes. We have continuous problems with unauthorized removal of microscopes from teaching laboratories.

OSU Property Administration often has retired or surplused light microscopes available for purchase at any time by department accounts, or to individuals at monthly surplus property sales.

The Electron Microscope Facility has some macrophotographic equipment and compound light microscopes for transmitted light brightfield, darkfield, phase contrast, and non-analytical polarized light imaging in the magnification range 1x to 1000x. The microscopes may be fitted with a selection of ocular reticles for measuring or counting applications, with cameras and appropriate filters for 35 mm or 3 x 4 inch black and white or color films, and for direct video (tv) image recording. Video images may be acquired and saved in digital format for subsequent image modification and/or feature analysis. There is a selection of filters, lenses, accessories, and calibration aids available for use with facility instruments or, when compatible, with yours.

Facility microscope use is by appointment (7-5645) during business hours. You provide specimens, film, film processing, labor, and specialized light sources or accessories. Facility staff assist with system configuration, and for a charge of $30/hour, can provide training and/or assistance with technical problems, image modification, or feature analysis. You may be charged repair or part replacement costs attributed to misuse of equipment.

The Electron Microscope Facility cooperates with the Electron Microprobe Facility located in 105 Burt Hall (Oceanography), which has reflected (epi-illumination) brightfield light microscopy and analytical transmitted or reflected polarized light microscopy.

Fluorescence microscopes equipped for photomicrography are available in several Botany & Plant Pathology laboratories, in the Plant Clinic, and in the Center for Gene Research and Biotechnology. Confocal microscopy is available in the Center for Gene Research and Biotechnology. Scanned tunneling microscopy is available in the Chemistry Department. Infrared, ultraviolet, and acoustical microscopes are not available.

Mass Spectrometers

The Environmental Health Sciences Center, located in the ALS Building, houses both a low- and high-resolution mass spectrometer. Charges for mass spectrometer analyses are $135 per hour (one-hour minimum) for instrument time and $120 per hour for data printout and analysis. Mass spectrometry is used for confirmation of chemical structures of unknown compounds and identification of trace organic chemicals because of its sensitivity and specificity. It is often used effectively with other analytical separation techniques such as gas and liquid chromatography. For more information contact Jeff Morre at 7-1771.

Flow Cytometry. The Environmental Health Sciences Center maintains a Flow Cytometer.. Pilot studies are available following consultation. Projects are charged from $25/hr. For more information, contact Nancy Kerkvliet at 7-4387.

Additional Support Facilities. Graduate students should be aware of the following research facilities and/or services that are available on campus.

Radiation Center - A campus-wide research and training facility for the use of radioisotopes and radiation. Special facilities include laboratories for neutron activation analysis. The Radiation Center is located at NW 35th and Jefferson (7-2343).

Radiation Safety Office - Provides information on radiation safety and radioisotope handling and disposal. The Radiation Safety Office is located in the the Oak Creek Building, 3015 SW Western Blvd (7-2227).

Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing - Operates a central service facility which includes equipment and technical support for peptide sequencing and DNA and RNA synthesis. The Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing is located in Room 3021 in the Ag Life Sciences Building (7-3347).

Environmental Remote Sensing Applications Laboratory (ERSAL) - Involved in development and application of remote sensing to agriculture, resource management, environmental monitoring, and other uses. ERSAL is located in Peavy 280 (7-4951).

USDA/Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory - Personnel associated with this well-equipped facility have expertise in areas of photosynthesis, water relations, flowering, foliar and soil-borne diseases, mycorrhizae, and soil chemistry. USDA/HCRL is located at NW 35th and Orchard Streets (541-738-4020).

USDA/ARS/National Forage Seed Production Research Center - This research facility is located at 3450 SW Campus Way (541-738-4000) and houses an interdisciplinary team of research scientists concerned with improving production practices of forage grasses and legumes grown for seed. Personnel at the Center have expertise in foliar and leaf diseases; disease epidemiology, including modeling and forecasting; forage insect pheromones and plant attractants; weed competition and weed control; seed conditioning, including recovery, cleaning, and purity; plant hormone bioregulation of seed development; plant growth processes and functions as related to increasing seed size and seed number; agronomic and management practices affecting seed yields; and inherited characteristics controlling or influencing seed yield or seed yield components.

US Environmental Protection Agency, Western Ecology Division, Corvallis - This EPA research facility has three organizational sections, namely (1) air pollution effects, (2) terrestrial/ pesticides, and (3) hazardous waste/water. Research areas of special concern to plant scientists include air pollution effects on plants, uptake and effects of pesticides on plants, and acid rain effects on crop plants. This is a well-equipped facility. Of particular interest is a unique system to study the uptake and translocation of chemicals by whole plants. The plant's aerial and root environments are continuously assessed and controlled and transpiration and photosynthesis monitored. USEPA is located at 200 SW 35th Street. For information, call 541-754-4418.