John T. Howell Botanical Laboratory

Lab users
The John T. Howell Botanical Laboratory is used by Department of Botany staff, students, research associates, and visitors (long-term and short-term), and is run by Boni Cruz, Botanical Laboratory Manager.
Lab functions, current use (items in parentheses indicate equipment in use)
Cytological:  chromosome counting to determine genetic characters (chemical storage, flammables material storage refrigerator holds the 70% ethanol-preserved specimens, fume hood, and a Zeiss Axio Imager.A2 compound microscope with a digital imaging system and PC platform).
Molecular: silica gel collection databasing (Mac platform) and organization (chemical storage), template DNA cryocollection databasing (Mac platform), DNA amplification (HEPA filter PCR-setup enclosure unit, two thermal-cyclers), DNA sequence alignment and analyses to determine molecular characters (two Mac platforms with Sequencher, McClade, Mesquite, and PAUP software)
Morphological: viewing herbarium specimens to determine macromorphological characters (Leica MZ12.5 dissecting microscope with photoport, and Wild M5A dissecting microscopes)
Visitor work space: Researchers requiring more space than is available at the designated Botany visitor tables can utilize the lab for this purpose.
Lab functions, future use (items in parentheses indicate equipment available)
Micromorphological: preparation of slides to determine micromorphological characters, (Zeiss compound microscopes, fume hood, chemical storage)
John Thomas Howell background
The lab is named after John Thomas Howell, a curator who was affiliated with the California Academy of Sciences, Department of Botany, for 65 years (1929-1994).  John Thomas Howell started at the Academy when Alice Eastwood offered him a temporary position in 1929. The following year he got a permanent position as an assistant curator. In 1949, upon Alice Eastwood’s retirement, Howell became curator. After his retirement in 1968, the John Thomas Howell Chair in Western American Botany was established in his honor. He continued his active research on California plants as curator emeritus until his death in 1994. John Thomas Howell is well known for his work with his mentor -Alice Eastwood, his numerous collections, his publications on diverse plant families and his mentoring of amateur and professional botanists.  (Daniel 2008).
John Thomas Howell’s mentor
Alice Eastwood was an Academy curator from 1893-1949.  She is known for saving the Academy’s critical herbarium specimens from the fire following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, rebuilding the Academy botanical resources (herbarium, collections, etc.), and her prodigious scientific research. (Daniel 2008).
Literature Cited
Daniel, T. F. 2008. One Hundred and Fifty Years of Botany at the California Academy of Sciences (1853-2003). The California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California, USA. 305 pp. 

Contact the Botany Department


Phone:  415-379-5361

Mailing Address:

Department of Botany
California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA  94118

Contact Botany Staff

Please visit our department staff page to find the appropriate team member in regards to your inquiry.