Desert Botanical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution

Desert Botanical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution

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Desert Botanical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution

Desert Botanical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution

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Excerpt

Several investigators, in Experiment Stations and other branches of government inquiry, have made special studies of the relations of plants to alkaline and other soils. They have also observed the behavior of plants in arid regions under the influence of irrigation. For the most part, both of these classes of studies were concerned with special and local problems, the immediate purpose of such study being to obtain information for the use of the agriculturist and horticulturist. Despite this limitation they clearly showed the need of a broader and more thorough study of the technical and general aspects of the relation of plants to dry climates and to substrata of unusual composition. Special mention should here be made of the results obtained by Messrs. Kearney and Cameron, who have investigated the separate and the combined effect upon plants of the substances usually found in alkaline soils. Other important papers are cited in the accompanying bibliography, pages 53 to 58.

When the Carnegie Institution was established, Mr. Coville determined to present to it a plan for a Desert Botanical Laboratory. This long cherished project was an outcome of his work in the Death Valley Expedition, in 1891. A plan was accordingly drawn tip by him and presented to the Institution's advisory committee in Botany. This committee considered and approved it because it promised results concerning the fundamental processes of protoplasm as important as any in the whole realm of botany. The Board of Trustees of the Institution also approved it, and appropriated $8,000 for the establishment of such a laboratory and its maintenance for one year. Messrs. Coville and MacDougal were appointed by the Institution as an Advisory Board in relation to the matter. This Board decided to place the Laboratory under the immediate charge of a resident investigator, who should carry on researches under its guidance, and should be responsible to it in his relations to the Institution. It was planned to begin a few inquiries of wide scope and important bearing to be carried on by the resident investigator until decisive results were obtained.

Furthermore, it was arranged to provide such an equipment as would . . .

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