Chetigun River, Chukotka

A New Era of Cooperation between the Komarov Botanical Institute (LE) and the University of Alaska Herbarium (ALA): Unraveling Evolutionary Relationships of Beringian Plants

Chukotka is a hotspot of biodiversity in the Russian Far East, one that has particular impact on understanding the affinities of the Alaskan flora. During three weeks in the summer of 2010, Herbarium Curator Steffi Ickert-Bond, Collections Manager and Ph.D. student Jordan Metzgar, and research associate Richard Bond traveled from Nome, Alaska to Provideniya, E. Chukotka, and then further north to the coastal town of Novoe Chaplino, by whaleboat to Lorino and eastward, in a quest to reach the Chegitun River. Funded by the NPS’s Shared Beringia Heritage Program and the NSF, the team met up with the Komarov Botanical Institute’s Nadja Sekretareva, a botanist with over 30 years of experience collecting in Chukotka, and Ph.D. student Julia Mikhailova. The group collected several hundred plant specimens, including several rare species, which will be used to infer relationships between E and W Beringian plants.

Ickert-Bond, S.M., F. Huettmann, I. Loera-Carrizales, L. Strecker, N. Sekretareva and Y. Mikhaylova. 2013. New insights from maximum likelihood analysis of geo-referenced occurrence data and climate for ecoregions in Beringia (Chukotka and Alaska). Alaska Park Science 12:60-69. [Link]