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Boyce Tankersley, M.S.

PHOTO: Boyce Tankersley
Director, Living Plant Documentation
E-mail: 
Phone: 
(847) 835-6841

Boyce Tankersley serves as director of living plant documentation at the Chicago Botanic Garden. His staff's responsibilities include maintaining records on over 2.6 million plants; verifying the accuracy of all plant nomenclature; labeling 10,821 taxa of permanent plants and 5,000 taxa of seasonal plants; mapping woody and perennial plants; and tracking the change in status of all accessioned plants from cradle to grave. Documentation staff are supported by 97 volunteers who assist in the core activities in addition to collection, recording and disseminating information related to phenology (bloom sequence); manage the Bloom Cart at the front of the Visitor Center; collect herbarium voucher specimens, digital images, and DNA vouchers of the Garden's accessioned plants; collect soil samples and record changes in the growth rate of trees as measured by the diameter at breast height (dbh) to measure carbon sequestration. 

Boyce has shared his knowledge of plant record databases with outside institutions as director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services Building Digital Resources National Leadership grant "PlantCollections™ - A Community Solution in association with the University of Kansas Natural History Museum, the American Public Gardens Association and 23 American, Chinese and British organizations. Most recently he spoke on Plant Documentation and Collection Policies at a Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) Capacity Building Workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

In addition to having expertise in plant record database software, Boyce also maintains a professional interest in geophytes, or plants that produce a bulb or have a bulb-like resting stage during their life cycles. A veteran of plant collecting expeditions, Boyce has focused his interests in the Caucasus region in eastern Europe and the Ozarks region of the USA. Prior to coming to the Garden in 1998, Boyce was the curator of living collections at the Missouri Botanical Garden. He serves on the Technology and Information, Plant Taxonomy and Nomenclature, Plant Collections and North American Plant Collections Consortium professional sections of the American Public Gardens Association. 

After passing the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain examination in horticulture, Boyce received his bachelor of science degree in horticulture from New Mexico State University. He received his master of science degree in floriculture from Texas A&M University. 

Selected Publications: 

Tankersley, Boyce. 2016. Photo-Verification - The Use of Digital Images as a Verification Tool. American Public Gardens Annual Meeting. Miami, Florida.

Tankersley, Boyce, Pam Allenstein and Carlo Balestrieri. 2015. Collection Documentation and Policies in Collections Clarity Webinar. online

Tankersley, Boyce. 2014. Creating a Plant Accessions Policy. Botanic Garden Conservation International Building Capacity for Botanic Garden Management in Ethiopia National Workshop, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Tankersley, Boyce. 2014. Creating (and then Maintaining) a Smartphone app. American Public Gardens Association Annual Meeting. Denver, Colorado.

Tankersley, Boyce and Cheri van Deraa. 2014. Chicago Botanic Garden Garden Guide Smart Phone Application. Chicago Wilderness Annual Meeting. Chicago, Illinois.

Tankersley, Boyce, Min Cai Henderson and Wang Kang. 2009. PlantCollections International – A Community Solution linking China, the U.K. and U.S.A. Botanic Gardens and Arboreta. Annual Meeting of the Chinese Botanic Garden Association. Guangxi Botanic Garden of Medicinal Plant. Nanning, Guangxi, China.

Tankersley, Boyce. 2009. Conserving Biodiversity and Botanic Gardens – A Horticultural Approach. Caucasus Region Biodiversity Symposium. Missouri Botanical Garden. St. Louis, Missouri.

Tankersley, Boyce. 2009. PlantCollections – A Community Solution Presentation to the Garden Clubs of America. Garden Clubs of America Annual Meeting. Chicago, Illinois

Tankersley, Boyce. 2009. PlantCollections – A Community Solution Presentation to the Garden Clubs of Illinois. Garden Club of Illinois Annual Meeting. Chicago, Illinois.

Tankersley, Boyce. 2009. PlantCollections International – A Community Solution Linking China, the UK and the USA Botanic Gardens and Arboreta. PlantCollections International Kickoff Meeting Hosted by Beijing Botanical Garden. Beijing, China.

Riccardi, Greg and Boyce Tankersley. 2008. Data Integration Services for Biodiversity Informatics:  An Example from PlantCollections and Morphbank. Taxonomic Databases Working Group annual meeting. Fremantle, Australia.

Allenstein, Pamela, Boyce Tankersley, Min Henderson, David Vieglais, Greg Riccardi, Christopher Dunn and Dan Stark. 2008. PlantCollections – Accessing botanic garden and arboretum biodiversity information. Association of Zoological Horticulture and Aquarium and Zoo Facilities Association annual meeting. Cincinnati, Ohio

Tankersley, Boyce, Christopher Dunn, Min Cai Henderson, David Vieglais, Greg Riccardi, Pam Allenstein, Dan Stark, Dietrich Kappe. 2008. PlantCollections – A Community Solution. First Monday Online Journal. University of Chicago Library. August, 2008.

Tankersley, Boyce, Min Henderson, Dave Vieglais, Greg Riccardi, Christopher Dunn, Pam Allenstein and Dan Stark. 2008. PlantCollections – Accessing the knowledge warehouses of botanic gardens and arboreta. Poster. Botanical Society of America, American Society of Plant Taxonomists, American Fern Society, Canadian Botanical Association/L'Association botanique du Canada joint annual meeting. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Tankersley, Boyce, Min Henderson, David Vieglais, Greg Riccardi, Pam Allenstein, Dan Stark and Mike O'Neal. 2008. PlantCollections – A Tool to Access Data Held by Botanic Gardens and Arboreta. American Society for Horticultural Sciences annual meeting. Orlando, Florida

Tankersley, Boyce E., M. C. Henderson, D. Vieglais, G. Riccardi, C.P. Dunn, D Stark, P. Allenstein. 2008. PlantCollections – A Community Solution to Accessing Scientific Information.  2nd World Botanic Garden Scientific Congress hosted by Botanic Gardens Conservation International and Botanic Garden of the Technical University of Delft. Delft, Netherlands.

Henderson, Min, Boyce Tankersley, David Vieglais, Greg Riccardi, Christopher Dunn, Dan Stark, Pamela Allenstein and Mike O'Neal. 2008. PlantCollections – An Efficient Distributed Database System for Plant Collections. 5th International Conference on Cybernetics and Information Technologies, Systems and Applications. Orlando, Florida

Tankersley, Boyce, Dan Stark, Mike O'Neal and Min Henderson. 2008. "PlantCollections – A Community Solution" beyond the Original Participants. American Public Gardens Association Annual Meeting. Pasadena, California.

Mehlin, Tracy, Boyce Tankersley, Min Henderson, Christopher Dunn, Dan Stark, Pam Allenstein, David Vieglais, Greg Riccardi. 2008. PlantCollections – A Community Solution to Cultivated Plant Information. Poster and Presentation. 5th International Weed Science Congress.  Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Min Henderson, Boyce Tankersley, David Vieglais, Greg Riccardi, Christopher Dunn, Pam Allenstein, Dan Stark. 2008. PlantCollections – A Community Solution. Natural Sciences Collections Alliance and Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Tankersley, Boyce. 2008. PlantCollections – A Community Solution. Yearbook of the American Camellia Society. (in process).

Tankersley, Boyce. 2008. PlantCollections – A Community Solution an invited presentation at WebWise 2008 – "Web2.0:  the Power of Community". Institute of Museum and Library Services and The Wolfsonian – Florida International University. Miami, Florida.

Tankersley, Boyce (organizer and speaker), Sophia Siskel, Kris Jarantoski, Dan Stark, Christopher Dunn, Pamela Allenstein, David Vieglais, Greg Riccardi, Michael O'Neal, Kerry Walter, Kang Wang, Mike Buffin. 2007. PlantCollections – A Community Solution International Expansion Kickoff Meeting. Chicago, IL

Henderson, Min and Boyce Tankersley. 2007. PlantCollections – A Community Solution. Invited Poster. Museum Computer Network annual meeting. Chicago, Illinois.

Tankersley, Boyce. 2007. PlantCollections – A Community Solution. Geographic Information Systems Workshop sponsored by American Public Gardens Association and Environmental Systems Research Institute. St. Louis, MO.

Tankersley, Boyce (moderator and speaker), Dan Lukash, David Vieglais and Greg Riccardi. 2007 PlantCollections™ - A Community Solution to Sharing our Botanical Legacy. American Public Gardens Association annual meeting, Washington, DC.

Tankersley, Boyce. 2007. Plant Documentation. Smithsonian Institute in-staff training. Washington, DC.

Tankersley, Boyce (moderator and speaker), Kristina Aguilar, Pamela Allenstein, Christopher Dunn, Michael O'Neal and David Vieglais. 2006. PlantCollections – A Community Solution Workshop. American Public Gardens Association annual meeting. San Francisco, California.

Tankersley, Boyce, Pamela Allenstein and David Vieglais. 2006. PlantCollections – A Community Solution Poster. American Public Gardens Association annual meeting. San Francisco, California.

Tankersley, Boyce (organizer and speaker), Christopher Dunn, Barbara Whitney Carr, Kris Jarantoski, Dan Stark, Pamela Allenstein, David Vieglais. 2005. PlantCollections – A Community Solution Kickoff Meeting. Funded by IMLS National Leadership grant in the Building Digital Resources category. Chicago, IL

Tankersley, Boyce (moderator), Rebecca Noricks, Dennis Stevenson and Larry Sugarbaker. 2005. Future Advances in Information Exchange. American Association of Botanic Gardens and Arboreta annual meeting. Chicago, Illinois.

Tankersley, Boyce (moderator), Kay Havens, Marcel Rejmancek and Mark P. Widrlechner. 2005. Invasive Risk Assessment: Methods to Evaluate New Taxa for Invasive Characteristics. American Association of Botanic Gardens and Arboreta annual meeting, Chicago, Illinois.

Hamm, Kyle, Boyce Tankersley, Veronica Harry-Jackson, David Sollenberger, Pati Vitt. 2005. Monitoring a Chicago Area Re-created Natural Environment. Poster. American Association of Botanic Gardens and Arboreta annual meeting. Chicago, Illinois.

Tankersley, Boyce (moderator and speaker), Michael Doyle and Margaret Popovich. 2003. Creation of a Garden Operation System at the Chicago Botanic Garden in session entitled Working Smart: Maximizing the Use of Stored Information within an Institution. American Association of Botanic Gardens and Arboreta annual meeting. Boston, Massachusetts.

Tankersley, Boyce (moderator), David Theodoropoulos, Chris Dionigi, Mike Maunder and Neil Anderson. 2003. Differing Perspectives on Invasive Species. American Association of Botanic Gardens and Arboreta annual meeting. Boston, Massachusetts.

Moderator. 2002. Mapping Your Collections Workshop. American Association of Botanic Gardens and Arboreta annual meeting. Royal Botanic Gardens, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Moderator. 2001. Technologies for Mapping Your Garden. American Association of Botanic Gardens and Arboreta annual meeting. Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver, Colorado.

Tankersley, Boyce and Veronica Harry-Jackson. 2000. Getting on the Map. Public Garden, Journal of the AABGA. Vol 15, No 4. Oct/Nov/Dec 2000. pp 12-15.

Speaker.  2000.  New Technologies for Botanic Garden Records.  World Botanic Gardens Conference.  (Joint meeting of AABGA, BGCI, CPC).  Asheville, North Carolina.

Tankersley, Boyce (workshop organizer and speaker), Kayri Havens, Tony Kirkham, Kevin Conrad, Ron Lance and Sue Wiegrefe. 2000. Plant Collecting Techniques Workshop. American Association of Botanic Gardens and Arboreta annual meeting. Asheville, North Carolina.