Research Labs

The Pritzlaff Conservation Center is more than just a new building, it provides two much needed lab spaces for our Conservation and Research scientists. Our staff are now able to further understand, protect, and restore California's threatened flora onsite and in the field.

Upon entering the building, visitors have the opportunity to look through a large window into our multipurpose lab to see staff and volunteers at work. Chris Garoutte, Conservation Technician, might be pinning and identifying some of the pollinators that allow native plants to produce seeds. Denise Knapp, PhD, Director of Conservation, may be examining the salinity of soil samples taken from San Nicolas Island, where invasive crystalline iceplant is changing the very foundation of the island's environment. Volunteers may be mounting and accessioning new herbarium specimens from across Santa Barbara County and on the Channel Islands. Our rare plant biologist, Heather Schneider, PhD, might be cleaning and curating Dwarf Golden Star (Bloomeria humilis) seeds collected from northern SLO County for our conservation seed collections.

Image of Malva Rosa on Santa Rosa Island taken by Kate Davis

Behind the multipurpose lab - out of sight - our new molecular genetics lab houses state-of-the-art equipment that allows us to sequence native plant DNA. When you visit, the Garden's systematist, Matt Guilliams, PhD, may be examining the genetic make-up of the beautiful Malva Rosa (Lavatera assurgentiflora) - widely used in the horticultural trade, but very rare on the Channel Islands it's native to. UCSB volunteer apprentices may be sequencing DNA from every plant found on all of the Channel Islands to create a comprehensive phylodiversity list - the first of its kind done in one particular geographic region. SBCC interns could be studying the morphological differences in the flowers of two related rare plants - Indian Knob Mountain Balm (Eriodictyon altissimum) and Lompoc Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon capitatum).

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


The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden conserves California native plants and habitats for the health and well-being of people and the planet.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
Our Tax ID number is 95-1644628.