Volume 14, No. 3
July - September 2000
A major international symposium focusing on the life, work, and times of André Michaux, noted French explorer, collector, and botanist, is planned for 15_19 May 2002, the bicentennial anniversary of Michaux's death. The André Michaux International Symposium (AMIS) will take place in Gaston County, NC, where Michaux did considerable work in the 1790s. It will feature talks and presentations, workshops, field trips, historical reenactments, and other related activities that should appeal to a wide audience.
The symposium will feature three days of talks, which may include keynote addresses, paper sessions, workshops, and panel discussions. In order to assist the planning at this stage, the AMIS organizers welcome proposals from anyone wishing to participate as a speaker or presenter on any topic related to Michaux, including botanical science, history, and gardening. Paper proposals should be no more than 200 words and must be received by 1 December 2000. Send proposals to Dr. Michael J. Baranski, AMIS Program Chair, Department of Biology, Catawba College, Salisbury, NC 28144; (704) 637-4442; fax (704) 637-4204; firstname.lastname@example.org. A formal call for papers will be issued approximately one year before the symposium date.
For more details on guidelines for proposals or on the symposium in general, please see the AMIS Web site, www.michaux.org.
BFNA Data Center
This summer, a new feature, "Works in Progress," was added to the Bryophyte Flora of North America Web site, www.nybg.org/bsci/bfna/. This new tool is for authors who have not yet formally submitted their taxonomic treatments, but who have completed some significant part of them and wish to make their preliminary treatments available for public use and comment. The format of the submission need not follow published guidelines for FNA, although it should
be carefully prepared. The first posting to "Works in Progress" is a key to the genus Hypnum (Hypnaceae).
New provisionally published treatments added to the Web site since April 2000 include Plaubelia, Hyophila (Pottiaceae), and Coscinodon (Grimmiaceae), bringing the total number of provisionally published generic treatments to 60. Provisional publication in the context of BFNA means that the treatment has been taxonomically reviewed and formatted for electronic publication. The author is welcome to revise the provisional publication at any time, whether in response to comments by users or as a result of additional research.
Illustrations in the form of elegant line drawings by Patricia Eckel have been added to the following 14 treatments since April: Trichodon (Ditrichaceae); Oreas (Dicranaceae); Barbarella, Hyophila, Leptodontium, Plaubelia (Pottiaceae); Campylium, Pallustriella, Pseudocalliergon, Sanionia, Scorpidium (Amblystegiaceae); Leptopterigynandrum (Leskeaceae); Leucobryum (Leucobryaceae); and Oedipodium (Oedipodiaceae). In all, 19 treatments now have illustrations posted on the Web.
Statistics kept by NYBG (which supports the BFNA Electronic Data Center) indicate that the site receives an average of 526 unique hits each month (i.e., one visit from one user outside NYBG = one unique hit, regardless of how many times that user visits the site during the month).
The Botany 2000 meeting for taxon editors, authors, and others interested in BFNA occurred on 7 August in Portland, Oregon. Given certain scheduling conflicts and the novelty of a general meeting, the turnout of 25 persons was considered excellent. Four expressed interest in their each taking on one or more of the 50 "orphaned" genera that remain without authors. A progress report was handed out and explained in detail by Lead Editor Richard Zander. An electronic version is available to anyone who wishes to have it; write to Dr. Zander at email@example.com. A similar report may be had from Bryophyte Data Center leader Barbara Thiers (firstname.lastname@example.org), who was unable to attend. The Editorial Center at the Buffalo Museum of Science continues to find that illustration work is immensely facilitated by exchange of email attachments of scanned versions of preliminary pencil sketches and inked drawings with the authors.
The Editorial Center at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) is dedicated to the Compositae, and its work is guided by the Compositae Editorial Committee (CompEd), consisting of Ted Barkley (BRIT), Luc Brouillet (University of Montreal), and John Strother (University of California, Berkeley). The goal of the BRIT Editorial Center is to see that the FNA treatments of the Asteraceae (volumes 19_21) will be published on schedule in the year 2004.
The initial compilation of the taxa indicated that there are about 2,600 species of composites in the flora, distributed among some 390 genera. The number of known species has increased in the past few years, but not dramatically. However, recent studies have provided justification for treating numerous segregates as distinct genera, and now about 420 genera are recognized in the flora.
Manuscripts are currently in hand for 87 of these genera, or about a fifth of all genera. This number itself could be misleading, for many of these 87 genera are small, and treatments for several of the larger complexes, e.g., Aster, s.l. , and Solidago, are yet to be prepared. Few of the in-hand manuscripts have final maps, and none have illustrations.
Eighty-eight botanists have agreed to contribute treatments to the FNA volumes on the Compositae, but several of these intended authors are no longer able to participate. At present some 80 genera are orphans, without assigned authors, and that number may climb as other intended authors withdraw. However, the widely noted revival of FNA's fortunes has brought three unsolicited volunteers who are ready to take part in preparing treatments of the Asteraceae. Doubtless some dedicated drum-beating may generate a few more new authors.
New authors and increased responsibilities among the present authors are not likely to account for all of the orphan genera, so the CompEd is moving toward seeking independent support to engage two or more full-time staff botanists whose responsibilities will be the preparation of manuscripts. These botanists might be newly minted PhDs, or more senior systematists who are on sabbatical leaves or are seeking summer positions.
The CompEd believes that the number of manuscripts currently in hand and the evidently viable program put the project in a good position to attract extramural support.
The Editorial Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, has five FNA components and will soon add a sixth: manuscript processing and final preparation for Volume 4 is also being done here. Jackie Campbell, Technical Editor, manages the "office" and has begun to format manuscripts for Volume 4. Nyctaginaceae is nearly ready for review, and Chenopodiaceae isn't far behind. The Flagstaff office also administers the grant from the Chanticleer Foundation, and Jackie Campbell takes care of finances, insurance, and other business matters.
In addition, the center has taken on responsibility for
preparing FNA maps using ArcView. Jason McNeil and
Jane Gonzales work in their homes preparing final Volume
26 maps and draft Volume 4 maps. The conventions for
dots, arrows, file naming, etc., have now been worked out,
and they have the software necessary to provide OUP with
high-quality maps that will reproduce correctly. It is critical
to match up the right map with the right description, and,
as there may be several versions of generated maps, having
a good tracking system is of vital importance.
Nancy Morin is Regional Coordinator for the Southwest. She has a good team of reviewers (including Dave Hammond right in Flagstaff), and dealing with the regional review process is an important activity for the Flagstaff office. One of Nancy's goals has been for the conservation status reviews to include dialogue between the FNA author and botanists in conservation organizations or federal, state, or local agencies who are managing populations of rare plants on the ground. Cheryl Casey is reviewing state and federal lists for conservation status so the center can inform authors of plants that may be of conservation concern and put them in touch with relevant local botanists. Cheryl also will be looking at treatments to identify plants that are or may be of concern as weeds.
Finally, the center is looking forward to the arrival of John Myers, longtime FNA illustrator. He will be in Arizona to continue his work on Volume 4 illustrations and to finish plates for Volume 26.
"Office" appears in quotes above because in fact the center is spread over a fairly wide area. Nancy works mostly at The Arboretum at Flagstaff, which is about eight miles southwest of Flagstaff proper. Jackie and Jane live south of Flagstaff in a town called Mountainaire, and they both work out of their homes. Jason and Cheryl live in Flagstaff and work at home, and who knows where John will land. The entire staff uses Nancy's office in the biology building of Northern Arizona University as a meeting place, archiving area, and general stopping-off point.
In order to better handle the current volume of work on Volume 26 and the future work for volumes 5 and 14, the Hunt Institute has hired a new editorial coordinator, Lisa Ferrugia. A native of Prairie Village, Kansas, Lisa graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in creative writing in May, and she joined the FNA Editorial Center staff later in the summer. Her duties include tracking FNA treatments, contacting potential authors and reviewers, and working with current authors, reviewers, and other FNA staff to ensure that manuscript processing proceeds efficiently and on schedule from initial submission through page and galley proofs. Lisa is also working part-time as Assistant in the Institute's Archives department. Beth Polen has been promoted to technical editor. She will continue to serve as newsletter editor, but her duties as editorial coordinator will be handed over to Lisa.
Significant progress has been made on Volume 26. A total of 164 treatments are now in review stage or later, and the final few genera should be received and processed shortly.
Curator, UNC Herbarium
The North Carolina Botanical Garden seeks a qualified candidate for a herbarium curatorship. This is a non-tenure track professional research, teaching, and public service position that reports to the Director of NCBG at UNC Chapel Hill.
The curator is responsible for the overall management of the UNC Herbarium, a collection that currently includes 660,000 plant specimens; supervises the international specimen exchange and loan program, authenticates and approves plant material added to the collection, and supervises the assistant curator, graduate students, undergraduates, and volunteers in specimen curation, record keeping, and accessioning; writes grants for the collection, as well as for his or her own research projects; is responsible for the overall direction of computerized databases and the availability of herbarium-related information on the Web; and trains undergrad-
uate and graduate students in caution techniques, teaches extension courses at NCBG, and may be appointed to an adjunct position with the Department of Biology in order to teach and serve on student committees.
To apply, send a letter of application, curriculum vitae, and three letters of reference to Peter White, Campus Box 3375, North Carolina Botanical Garden, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3375; (919) 962-0522; email@example.com.
Applications are already under review, so interested candidates should submit their materials as soon as possible. UNC is an equal opportunity employer.
Pullen Herbarium Now Open
After several years of being closed to researchers, the Pullen Herbarium at the University of Mississippi now welcomes visitors and requests for specimen loans. The herbarium is home to the largest publicly held collection in the state, with approximately 62,000 vascular plant specimens, mostly from Mississippi and the southeastern U.S. For more information, or to request a specimen, contact the new herbarium curator, Dr. Lucile M. McCook, Department of Biology, University of Mississippi, P.O. Box 1848, University, MS 38677-1848; (662) 915-5488; fax (662) 915-5144; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smith Collection Added to W. S. Turrell Herbarium
The herbarium collection of the late bryologist Dr. Douglas R. Smith, including type specimens, has been incorporated into the W. S. Turrell Herbarium at Miami University, Ohio. The collection of over 6,000 specimens consists mainly of bryophytes from Guam and Micronesia, where Dr. Smith spent much of his career, as well as many specimens from Southeast Asia, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. The specimens were collected by Dr. Smith and his students, or were obtained through exchange. Also included are some specimens of vascular plants, lichens, algae, and fungi from Micronesia.
The D. R. Smith Herbarium is now part of Miami's bryophyte herbarium, which consists of about 100,000 bryophyte specimens. There are also several thousand duplicate specimens from the Smith Collection, about half of which are unidentified. Of the remaining half, only about half of these are identified to species level, with the rest identified only to genus. If anyone is interested in obtaining any herbarium specimens on loan, exchange, or as gifts for determination, please contact Dr. Michael A. Vincent, Curator, W. S. Turrell Herbarium, Department of Botany, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056; (513) 529-2775; fax (513) 529-4243; email@example.com.
Grasses of Mexico Volume 5 Now on CD-ROM
Comisión Tecnico Consultiva de Coeficentes de Agostadero (COTECOCA). 1999. Las Graminéas de México. Tomo V. [Panicum to Paspalum]. CD-ROM published by Subsecretario de Agricultura y Ganadería, México. (466 pp. in print).
The fifth volume of the Grasses of Mexico is now available on CD-ROM. Each volume of this excellent series contains keys, descriptions, illustrations, and distribution maps for the taxa included, and each has improved on its predecessors in various ways.
The changes in the fifth volume are particularly striking. The descriptions are more detailed, the illustrations better, and a list of voucher specimens is included. There are also more color photographs, some showing individual plants, others showing large areas covered by a particular species, and several showing the primary consumers of grasses cows. For some of the most important forage species, such as Panicum maximum, a considerable amount of agronomic information is provided (10 pages for P. maximum), an unusual feature in a volume that is basically floristic.
It would be well worth it for anyone who works with grasses, as well as floristic taxonomists living in states adjacent to Mexico, to obtain a copy. Print copies of volumes 1_4 are currently available for free (not including postage), and Volume 5 should be soon. If you are interested, send an e-mail to Ing. Gregorio Villegas Duran, Director de COTECOCA, firstname.lastname@example.org. Briefly explain why you are interested in the book(s) and where you work. Send a copy of your message to Biol. Alejandro Miranda Sanchez, Jefe del Herbario de COTECOCA, email@example.com. Information on how to obtain the CD-ROM for Volume 5 is not available at press time, but please use the above e-mail addresses for any queries.
- Mary Barkworth, Intermountain Herbarium, USU
Brassicaceae Key Corrected
Dr. Gerry Mulligan's updated key to the Brassicaceae (Cruciferae) of Canada and Alaska can be accessed at http://res2.agr.ca/ecorc/cwmt/brasskey using Adobe Acrobat Reader. The key contains 248 taxa in 58 genera of Brassicaceae, the type species of each genus, pertinent synonyms, general distributions, and information on the native or naturalized status of each taxon. This treatment complements Reed C. Rollins' The Cruciferae of Continental North America: Systematics of the Mustard Family from the Arctic to Panama, 1993, Stanford University Press.
FRANK S. SANTAMOUR, JR., Research Geneticist for the Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit at the U.S. National Arboretum, died in August 2000.
Dr. Santamour, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts' forestry program, received his M.S. in forestry from Yale in 1954, his A.M. in biology from Harvard in 1957, and finally his Ph.D in forestry with a minor in plant genetics from the University of Minnesota in 1960. In July 1964 he joined the Morris Arboretum at the University of Pennsylvania as a geneticist. Three years later he initiated a research project on "Cytogenetics, Breeding, and Evaluation of Shade Trees" with the USDA at the Agricultural Research Service's U.S. National Arboretum. His work on this project helped to develop "street trees" that would be able to endure a uniquely stressful urban environment; the research also helped establish the National Arboretum as a major center for breeding and developing landscape trees.
Dr. Santamour is survived by his wife, Doris, and his son, Frank S. Santamour III.
BERNICE GIDUZ SCHUBERT, 86, botanical academician at the Harvard University Herbaria, died in her sleep at her residence in Lexington on 14 August 2000.
A native of Boston, Dr. Schubert obtained her B.S. at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1935. She went on to earn her M.S. in 1937 and her Ph.D. in 1941, both from Radcliffe College. As a research assistant in systematic botany at the Gray Herbarium at Harvard from 1946 to 1939, she conducted taxonomic research on Desmodium (Leguminosae) and Begonia (Begoniaceae). She also assisted the herbarium director, Professor M. L. Fernald, in studies of North American plants for the 8th edition of Gray's Manual of Botany. She was later involved in the preparation of Fernald's
Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America,
which he co-authored with A. C. Kinsey.
From 1950 to 1951, Dr. Schubert continued her taxonomic work on legumes as a Guggenheim Fellow in England, France, Switzerland, Denmark, and the Netherlands. She spent over a year at the Jardin Botanique de l'Etat in Brussels as a botanical consultant, working on the Flora du Congo Belga et Ruanda Urundi and making trips to England and France to study related material. For several years she was involved in a cooperative program with the National Heart Institute and the National Institutes of Health to screen plants (mainly Dioscorea) for the presence of alkaloids potentially useful in the treatment of hypertension. For this project, she made several trips to collect plant material in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
Dr. Schubert worked as a plant taxonomist for the USDA from 1952 to 1961. She then accepted a position at Harvard, where she stayed until her retirement in 1984. During her tenure there she served as editor of the Journal of the Arnold Arboretum (1963_1978) and continued her research on the taxonomy of Dioscoreaceae, Leguminosae, and Begoniaceae.
As the first secretary of the Women's Organization at Harvard, Dr. Schubert contributed greatly to efforts toward the recognition of women in the workplace. She traveled often to various parts of Latin America and especially Mexico, where she maintained a collaborative and productive relationship with the Mexican botanical community. She was always available to help any students and faculty from these countries who were in need of assistance.
Dr. Schubert was respected as an authority in her field, and her publications include over 100 scientific papers. She was a member of, among others, the Linnaean Society of London, the Societé Royale de Botanique Belgique, the Botanical Society of Washington, the Washington Academy of Sciences, the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, and the International Association of Plant Taxonomists, of which she was a founding member.
A memorial service was held on Friday 6 October at the Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts, followed by a reception at the Harvard University Herbaria.
FLOYD A. SWINK, 79, botanist and plant taxonomist,
died in his sleep on 2 August 2000 in Wheaton, Illinois.
Mr. Swink was the taxonomist of collections at the Morton
Arboretum for almost thirty years until his retirement ten
years ago, and he continued to contribute actively to the
Arboretum until his death.
Known for his astounding memory, Mr. Swink began to cultivate an interest in botany during high school, studying local plants on his own near his home in Illinois. For years, however, botany remained only a hobby, and Mr. Swink concentrated on his impressive speed-typing skills. Able to type up to 140 words a minute, often while performing several other tasks such as balancing nickels on his knuckles and reading a book upside down, he won several world typing championships and did demonstrations for the Underwood Typewriter Company after he graduated from high school. He enlisted in the Navy in 1940, was stationed in Chicago, and thus was able to continue to do botanical field work there and also began to study birds. At the end of World War II, Mr. Swink returned to his typing career, but as electric typewriters began to replace manual ones, he found his skills less in demand. He did, however, continue to study botany on his own, and he often traveled to the Ozarks with Julian Steyermark to do field work. In 1949 Mr. Swink accepted an offer to teach botany at the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy. While there he attended the college as a part-time student, adding especially to his knowledge of poisonous and medicinal plants.
Mr. Swink left the University of Illinois in 1957 to accept a position as a naturalist at the Little Red Schoolhouse, Cook County Forest Preserve District. Here he was able to share his extensive knowledge of local plants and birds by teaching and leading nature walks. He was invited to teach at the Morton Arboretum in 1960, and three years later he became taxonomist for the Arboretum, responsible for verifying the identities of thousands of exotic plants in the cultivated collections.
In 1969, Mr. Swink published Plants of the Chicago Region. This first edition included no drawings, photographs, or descriptions; it had only an alphabetical list (in Latin) naming all the local trees, grasses, and other local plants with which he was so familiar, each followed by a secondary list of other species growing nearby. In the 1970s, this information became vital to the restoration of the badly damaged natural ecosystems of Illinois. Mr. Swink and colleague Gerould Wilhelm co-wrote a third edition of the book in 1979, which soon became an indispensable reference for conservationists, naturalists, and amateur botanists alike. A fourth edition was published in 1999, typed extremely rapidly and without error by Mr. Swink himself. Mr. Swink is also the author of two earlier books, a guide to the flowering plants of Chicago in 1953 and Birds of the Morton Arboretum in 1964.
Mr. Swink's ability to remember details, along with his sense of humor and love of puns, made him an especially popular and respected teacher of Chicago plants and birds. He inspired many young naturalists to pursue their interest in the local wildlife.
Mr. Swink is survived by his wife Marie, his son Gary, his daughters Carolyn Dunham and Gloria Bryen, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. His role in the preservation of the prairie remnant was also honored in August by the unveiling of a statue of himself and biologist Robert Betz at the Santa Fe Prairie in Hodgkins.
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