Biology Professor Identifies 56 Plant Species Unknown to Have Existed in Worcester County

Robert Bertin makes discovery at EcoTarium’s herbarium collection
March 24th, 2014 by 

Biology professor Robert Bertin has identified 56 plant species previously unknown to have existed in the Central Massachusetts area. He made the discoveries while doing research on the loss of plant species in Worcester County and studying the herbarium, a collection of dried plants, at the EcoTarium, a science and nature musem in Worcester.

Kaleigh Pare, collections specialist at the EcoTarium, wrote a letter that was published in the January/February issue of Museum News detailing Bertin’s accomplishment (PDF).

“These specimens were collected between 1876 and 1938, allowing Bertin to document the loss of native plant species within the last 150 years in relation to succession, human activities and climate change,” Pare wrote.

The herbarium’s archives have been the main focus of Bertin since his first contact with the EcoTarium 13 years ago. “The EcoTarium is known primarily as a science education facility,” Bertin says, “but down in its basement, there is an amazing collection of these scientific objects, plant specimens, and so on.”

Bertin began his project by simply cataloguing and labeling many of these carefully preserved plant species gathered in Worcester. Most of these collected items, as it turns out, came from amateur botanists collecting at that time. “A lot of the collection harkens back to when botany, and science in general, was a very inclusive field,” Bertin says. “Rather than golf, or hunting, or other such recreational activities, many people – priests, lawyers, etc. – used to keep botanical collections as a hobby, for pleasure.” It is from these non-professional sources that many of the 4,000-5,000 pieces in the EcoTarium’s collection originate.

Bertin identifies with this personal interest in botany. With a father in the Air Force, much of his childhood was spent overseas in places like France, England, and Germany. A constant throughout was a love of the outdoors. “Since I can remember,” he says, “I’ve always loved nature, and I’ve always just loved being outside.”

Originally intending to study ornithology (bird zoology) in college, Bertin soon became more interested in the study of flora. He earned his Ph.D. in the field from the University of Illinois. Bertin came to Holy Cross in 1984 – this year marks his 30th anniversary on the faculty — and he’s been teaching in the biology department ever since.

Work as a biology department professor kept him from his earlier interest in plant research for some years, but the passion was re-ignited after teaching a field class in the late ’90s. He published an extensive survey in 2000 detailing plant life in the city of Worcester, titled “Vascular Flora of Worcester, Massachusetts.”

“I wanted to do something more analytical, though, rather than just a simple catalogue,” Bertin explains, “so I began this project with the Worcester EcoTarium. I began asking questions like ‘Has Worcester seen an increase in non-native species as its human population has grown?’ This is then what drove my research.

“I’m just glad to still be doing the thing I love most,” Bertin continues. “And even more especially, I love seeing a mutual collaboration between professional and non-professional scientists. That’s why any of this was even possible in the first place. It all just comes down to finding something you’re passionate about doing, and enjoying it.”

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Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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COES HCEG Meeting
11/1/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
HCEG (Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group) is the student chapter of...
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Lecture: Alan Rosen on Jewish Religious Life and Practice During the Holocaust
11/1/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Alan Rosen, Kraft-Hiatt scholar-in-residence, will give a talk...
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Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/1/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/2/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
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Poetry Reading by Gabrielle Calvocoressi
11/2/2017
English
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Join us for a poetry reading by Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Calvocoressi...
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PricewaterhouseCoopers Extreme Games Launch
11/2/2017
Economics and Accounting
Smith Laboratories 154
Open to the Public
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COES Sales Club Meetings
11/2/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
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Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/2/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/3/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
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Black Student Union Presents "Griot"
11/3/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Ballroom & Dunn Rcpt
Open to the Public
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Open Enrollment Assistance
11/3/2017
Human Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 410 - Computer Lab
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/3/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/4/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
See More >>


Lecture: Seth Stephens-Davidowitz on Googling for Hate
11/6/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a former Google data scientist and author...
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COES HC Capital Club Meeting
11/6/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
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Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/6/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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Creating an Inclusive Campus: Skills and Practice
11/6/2017
Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
This workshop will take diversity and inclusion from theory to...
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COES Finance Club Meetings
11/7/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
See More >>


Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/7/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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COES HCEG Meeting
11/8/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
HCEG (Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group) is the student chapter of...
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The Human Consequences of Anti-LGBTQ Policies: Experiences of LGBTQ Asylum Seekers
11/8/2017
Africana Studies
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
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Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/8/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 3
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/9/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
See More >>


COES Sales Club Meetings
11/9/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>


Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/9/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/10/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
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Race: The Power of an Illusion Part 3
11/10/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 519
*Episode III – “The House We Live In” focuses not...
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Talk by Prof Wiebke Deimling-Kant’s Theory of Sympathy
11/10/2017
Philosophy
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall 501
Open to the Public
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Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/10/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/11/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
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COES HC Capital Club Meeting
11/13/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
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Matthew Hughey Lecture
11/13/2017
Africana Studies
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
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COES Finance Club Meetings
11/14/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
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Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu Lecture
11/14/2017
Asian Studies
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
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Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu (Event canceled)
11/15/2017
Asian Studies
Dinand Library Levis Browsing Room
Open to the Public
See More >>


Conference: Religion, Protest, and Social Upheaval
11/15/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
The recent proliferation of social, political, and economic protest...
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PricewaterhouseCoopers Extreme Games Competition
11/16/2017
Economics and Accounting
Smith Laboratories 154
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


COES Sales Club Meetings
11/16/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>


"I Can't Remember What I Just Read!"
11/16/2017
Academic Services and Learning Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 406(07)
Learn strategies to focus your attention and get more out of the...
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Conference: Religion, Protest, and Social Upheaval
11/16/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
The recent proliferation of social, political, and economic protest...
See More >>


Conference: Religion, Protest, and Social Upheaval
11/17/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
The recent proliferation of social, political, and economic protest...
See More >>


COES HC Capital Club Meeting
11/20/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
See More >>


Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/20/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
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Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/20/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
See More >>


COES Finance Club Meetings
11/21/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
See More >>


Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/21/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
See More >>


Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/21/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
See More >>


Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/21/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
See More >>


Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/21/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
See More >>


Open Enrollment Assistance
11/21/2017
Human Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 410 - Computer Lab
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


COES Sales Club Meetings
11/23/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>


COES HC Capital Club Meeting
11/27/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
See More >>


COES Finance Club Meetings
11/28/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
See More >>


Study Smarter, Not Harder!
11/28/2017
Academic Services and Learning Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 408(09)
Why is it so hard to remember what you just heard in lecture or...
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COES HCEG Meeting
11/29/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
HCEG (Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group) is the student chapter of...
See More >>


Alternate College Theatre Production: "Stop Kiss"
11/30/2017
Theatre
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of the millennium. Sara wants to change the world; Callie simply wants to get by. They could be best of friends or even something more – if only they could make a decision. But making that decision isn’t easy and may even cause dangerous repercussions. An Alternate College Theatre production directed by Alexis Rappaport ’19. Tickets
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of...
See More >>


COES Sales Club Meetings
11/30/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>


Alternate College Theatre Production: "Stop Kiss"
12/1/2017
Theatre
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of the millennium. Sara wants to change the world; Callie simply wants to get by. They could be best of friends or even something more – if only they could make a decision. But making that decision isn’t easy and may even cause dangerous repercussions. An Alternate College Theatre production directed by Alexis Rappaport ’19. Tickets
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of...
See More >>


Lecture: Quayshawn Spencer on a Radical Solution to the Race Problem
12/1/2017
Philosophy
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Quayshawn Spencer, assistant professor of philosophy at the University...
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Alternate College Theatre Production: "Stop Kiss"
12/2/2017
Theatre
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of the millennium. Sara wants to change the world; Callie simply wants to get by. They could be best of friends or even something more – if only they could make a decision. But making that decision isn’t easy and may even cause dangerous repercussions. An Alternate College Theatre production directed by Alexis Rappaport ’19. Tickets
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of...
See More >>


Alternate College Theatre Production: "Stop Kiss"
12/2/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Stop Kiss,” an Alternate College Theatre production, is being staged on...
See More >>


Alternate College Theatre Production: "Stop Kiss"
12/3/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Stop Kiss,” an Alternate College Theatre production, is being staged on...
See More >>


COES HC Capital Club Meeting
12/4/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
See More >>


COES Finance Club Meetings
12/5/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
See More >>


COES Sales Club Meetings
12/7/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>

See All