University of Hawaii at Manoa Library




As the only U.S. university botany department located in a tropical environment, the UH Manoa Botany Department emphasizes research and teaching concerning both aquatic and terrestrial tropical ecosystems. It is committed to broad-based botanical education that focuses on developing an understanding of Hawaii's unique island development. The Department provides instruction in anatomy, ecology, systematics, ethnobotany, physiology, and population and evolutionary biology.

Research programs focus on terrestrial and marine plant ecology, evolution, and conservation of Hawaii's ecosystems and unique endemic flora; the ecology and physiology of marine macroalgae; invasion biology of alien weeds; and the uses of plants by humans. Faculty expertise extends from the molecular to the whole organism in marine and terrestrial environments with an emphasis on evolutionary biology, ecology, ethnobotany, molecular evolution, physiology, structural botany, and systematics. Research studies are not limited to the Hawaiian Islands. Faculty and students have research projects in many areas of the tropics throughout the world.

At the undergraduate level, the Botany Department offers a BA degree in botany, BS degrees in botany and in ethnobotany, and minors in ethnobotany, evolutionary botany, and tropical field botany.

The Botany Department offers graduate education in a wide range of botanical specialties, with emphasis placed on tropical botany and conservation. Both MS (both Plan A and Plan B) and PhD degrees are offered. The following tracks are available for these graduate programs: conservation, ecology, ethnobotany, general botany, marine botany, plant structure/function and systematics/evolution.

The Botany Department is closely affiliated with the Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology Graduate Specialization Program. The Botany Graduate Program collaborates with leading international conservation agencies and many of its research programs make use of its strong ties to Hawaii's National Parks, terrestrial and marine conservation areas, and living botanical collections.

The Department supports the open access, electronic, peer-reviewed journal Ethnobotany Research and Applications.


In addition to its own literature, botanical science draws heavily on the literature of biology, chemistry, genetics, and marine biology. Additionally, in the areas of conservation and ecology, literature from ecology, entomology, geology, hydrology, and zoology are utilized. Ethnobotany is particularly interdisciplinary and selection for this specialty overlaps with the fields of anthropology, geography, horticulture, and medicine.

Additional materials relating to botany in Hawaii and the tropical Pacific are acquired through Special Collections. The Hawaiian Collection is the primary repository for material originating in Hawaii. The Pacific Collection includes materials about islands of the Pacific. These departments sometimes purchase duplicate copies of heavily used titles for the general circulating collection. The Government Documents Collection also includes botanical literature especially from the National Herbarium and other departments of the Smithsonian Institution, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Research in the Botany Department is also supported by collections in the Bishop Museum Library and the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (formerly the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association) Library. There are no formal collecting arrangements with these libraries.


Language: English is preferred. Historical materials in Dutch, French and German concerning the tropical Pacific are occasionally acquired. Spanish and Portuguese publications on tropical flora or ecosystems are collected on a limited basis. Asian language botany material can be found in both the Science and Technology Wing and in the Asia Collection.

Chronological: No limitations; the emphasis is on current theories and research.

Geographic: Tropical and sub-tropical areas are of primary interest, with an emphasis on the Pacific islands and Pacific rim regions. Materials concerning temperate regions are collected sparingly.

Date of Publication: Current materials are emphasized; gaps are filled as needed. Rare and historical materials may be acquired as gifts.

Types and Formats of Materials Collected: Scholarly journals are of primary importance in botany; where available and financially feasible, Web access is preferred for journal subscriptions. Web-accessible journal article databases, including back files, are acquired as funds permit. Monographs and monographic series on current research in the field and floras are generally collected in print format, but e-book availability is increasing. Conference proceedings are collected selectively in either print or Web accessible electronic format. Reference materials such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, and bibliographies are collected and Web access is preferred when available. Dissertations and theses in print format are collected on a very selective basis. Audiovisual materials and microforms are purchased only when requested by faculty. Web sites on Hawaiian and Pacific botany and ecology are selected for inclusion in the online catalog. Excluded are manuscripts and preprints and reprints of journal articles.

Electronic Format: See Types and Formats of Materials Collected.

Treatment: All treatments are included, with the exception of popular works and lower level textbooks. Upper level textbooks are selectively collected. Both research and applied aspects are collected. Historical and biographical treatments are acquired selectively.


Books that document botanical scholarly research and university level textbooks no more than five years old may be accepted. Gifts in other formats that are relevant to the research or instruction mission of Botany Department will also be reviewed. Popular magazines, short journal runs, materials that duplicate items already in our collections, and materials in poor condition generally are not accepted. Contact the botany subject librarian ( to discuss the nature, extent and timing of your donation. Gifts of archival materials that relate to the history of the university should be discussed with the University Archives (

When donated items are accepted by the UH Manoa Library they become the possession of the Library. The Library reserves the right to make decisions about the disposition of these materials. A letter of acknowledgement will be sent to donors, but the Library cannot provide monetary appraisals of gifts.

Compiled by: Eileen Herring

Date: June 2008

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