San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSan Diego Natural History Museum Biodiversity Research Center of the Californias: Botany Department


Plant Atlas
Climate Change
The Collection

Botanical Services

Field Guide

Biological Services Contact
Margie Mulligan
Botany Field Specialist

Herbarium Services Contact
Judy Gibson
Collection Manager

Isoetes orcuttii in vernal pools at Otay Ecological Reserve.  Photo: Jeannie Gregory Isoetes orcuttii in vernal pools at Otay Ecological Reserve
Photo: Jeannie Gregory

Services of the Department

The Department of Botany offers a unique combination of resources and experience and a wide variety of services available by contract. As part of the Museum's interdisciplinary Biodiversity Research Center of the Californias, our mission is to serve as the leading center for the scientific study of natural history, biological diversity, and evolution within our region.

Biological Services

  • Floristic surveys
  • Rare-plant surveys and monitoring
  • Vegetation mapping and habitat assessment
  • Qualified personnel skilled in a variety of field-survey techniques
  • Qualified personnel with state rare-plant permits
  • Authoritative identification of plant specimens by the curator
  • Plant collection and documentation for plant surveys and other investigations
  • Technical report writing
  • GIS capabilities
  • Interdisciplinary services offered in conjunction with our Departments of Birds and Mammals, Herpetology, Entomology, and Paleontology.

Herbarium Services

  • Access to the collections and reference resources for identification and distributional information
  • Database searches for collections in geographic areas or species distributional information
  • Authoritative identification of plants specimens by the curator
  • Housing and curation of plant specimens serving as vouchers for plant surveys and other investigations
  • Use of botanical photographs from the department's slide and print collection
  • Expert opinion in legal cases


  • Herbarium reference collection of over 180,000 voucher specimens spanning 130 years
  • Nonvascular subcollections containing algae, lichens, fungi and bryophytes
  • A type collection of 373 types dominated by specimens from southern California and the Baja California peninsula.
  • Synoptic collections for the floras of San Diego County, Imperial County, and the Baja California peninsula
  • Botanical image collection of over 30,000 photographic prints and slides

Research Resources

  • Facilities—1500-sq.-ft. herbarium with mobile storage system, lab space, and wet lab
  • Equipment—three electric plant dryer cabinets, 190-sq.-ft. walk-in freezer for use in pest management, fume hood, phase contrast and dissecting microscopes, slide scanner and a large-format flatbed high-resolution scanner, and GIS-capable computers
  • Research Library—library of more than 55,000 volumes staffed by professional librarian
  • Additional Museum Resources—access to two full-time IT staff, a graphics department, and the Departments of Education, Birds and Mammals, Entomology, Herpetology, Marine Invertebrates, and Paleontology.


Jon Rebman, Ph.D., Curator of Botany
Dr. Rebman is the Curator of Botany at the San Diego Natural History Museum. He has a Ph.D. in Botany (plant taxonomy), M.S. in Biology (floristics) and B.S. in Biology. He has over 14 years of experience in the floristics of San Diego and Imperial Counties and 20 years experience studying the plants of the Baja California peninsula. Dr. Rebman has been an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Biology at San Diego State University (SDSU) for ten years and has served as a scientific advisor for graduate research projects. He is an avid plant collector with extensive local knowledge of the native plants of San Diego County and the Baja California peninsula, including rare and endemic species. He verifies the identity of all San Diego collections that are deposited in the herbarium through the Plant Atlas project. He has recently published a voucher-based checklist of the vascular plants of San Diego County (Rebman and Simpson 2006).

Margie Mulligan, Botany Field Specialist
Ms. Mulligan has over 13 years experience working in botanical science. She has her B.S. in Environmental Studies (biophysical) and her M.S. in Botany with an emphasis in population ecology. She has worked for several agencies including federal (National Park Service and Forest Service), state, water district, nonprofits, and private biological consulting firms. Her experience includes rare plant monitoring and surveys, vegetation community sampling, vegetation mapping, floristic surveys, wetland research, using taxonomic keys, technical writing, and GIS.

Judy Gibson, Collection Manager
Ms. Gibson has managed the collections of the Botany Department for over 18 years. She has a B.A. from SDSU and over 25 years experience with the flora of San Diego County, which includes the curation and management of voucher specimens, fieldwork, technical writing, and education through teaching botany classes, leading field trips and giving tours of the collection.

Jeannie Gregory, Parabotanist Manager/Botany Technician
Ms. Gregory has over 8 years experience as the Parabotanist Manager of the Plant Atlas project and botanical field technician for the Department of Botany at the San Diego Natural History Museum. She has over six years experience with the flora of San Diego County and working as a botanical field technician.

In addition, we have a wide network of contacts and cooperative relationships with scientists and biological consultants.