Research Labs

The Pritzlaff Conservation Center provides two important lab spaces for our Conservation and Research scientists, and opportunities for the public to observe some of this work.

Upon entering the building, visitors can look through a large window into our multi-purpose lab to see staff and volunteers at work. Conservation Technician Kylie Etter might be pinning and identifying some of the pollinators that allow native plants to produce seeds. Susana Delgadillo, Herbarium Curatorial Assistant, may be preparing new herbarium specimens from across Santa Barbara County and beyond, together with a cadre of dedicated volunteers. Rare Plant Biologist, Dr. Heather Schneider, and Rare Plant Technician Sean Carson, together with more wonderful volunteers, might be cleaning and curating seeds of Santa Cruz Island liveforever (Dudleya nesiotica) for our conservation seed bank. And Lichenologist Dr. Rikke Naesborg might be identifying lichen specimens from any number of unexplored areas, including the sky-high canopies of coast redwood trees.

Behind the multipurpose lab - out of sight - our Plant Genetics Lab houses state-of-the-art equipment that allows us to use information coded in the DNA of plants and animals to understand population genomics of rare plant taxa, study the origins of botanical diversity in the California Floristic Province, and examine species’ ecology with DNA barcoding. On your visit, Laboratory Technicians Caitlin Hazelquist and Isabel Rivera might be isolating DNA from rare and undescribed species of live-forever (Dudleya). The Garden's Conservation Geneticist Dr. Kristen Hasenstab-Lehman could be examining genomic data to assess evolutionary relationships in the popcorn flowers (Boraginaceae) or the diet of charismatic Channel Island foxes.

Click here to learn more about how the Garden is working to understand, protect, restore, and advocate for California's native flora.