Issue 35: April/May 2001

 

CPBR NEWS

News from the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian National Herbarium (CANB), for the information of CPBR and ANBG staff and volunteers.
 

CPBR News is produced monthly. If you wish to contribute, please email your suggestions to Val Oliver, the coordinator.


 

This is your newsletter, please contribute news relating to the Centre.


 

Val Oliver: ph (02) 6246 5533; fax (02) 6246 5249; email: Val.Oliver@pi.csiro.au


 
Farewells FAREWELLS

Bob Makinson has decided to leave the Centre and his job as Curator of the Australian National Herbarium in order to take up a position as Director of the new Centre for Plant Conservation in Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. Bob has been in Canberra for 10 years and has been with us since the inception of the Centre in 1993. His contribution has been very significant, particularly in the area of herbarium and curatorial policy and standards development. He did much to maintain and to foster linkages between the herbarium and all other parts of the ANBG, as well as to other sections of Environment Australia.
Besides Bob’s taxonomic and herbarium interests he has always had considerable activities in the area of conservation, not only Grevillea Recovery Plan involvement but also with bodies such as the national Endangered Flora Network, for which he has been Convenor for the past few years. I am quite certain he has real expertise to contribute to the new venture in Sydney and that he will be able to develop an active and effective group in plant conservation.
As was clearly evident at the recent farewell we held for Bob, we are going to miss him very much. Personally, I am going to feel the void as both a friend and colleague - we had developed a stimulating working relationship that was effective for the Centre.
Those of you who missed Bob’s farewell, might want to read (rather than hear) the touching character assassination delivered by his "friends" Jim Croft and Brendan Lepschi – a slightly censored version is included below.
[Judy West]

********************


Farewell from Bob
I'd like to convey my thanks to all the Staff, Associates, and Volunteers of ANBG and CPBR who have helped and supported me through my time here, and who have in CPBR together built a new institution that is fast becoming a premier botanical centre.  I will miss all of you, and wish you all well.  Please stay in touch.
[Bob Makinson]

********************
 
And now, a small poetic offering:
James, James  (with apologies to A.A. Milne)

James, James
Croftie, Croftie.
Section Head, Botany
said "come on down to Canberra, son,
'cos I've got a job for thee."
Bob, Bob,
Wobbley-Bobbley
young and naïve was he
Said "Okey-doke, that sounds pretty good,
just the job for me."
So Bob, Bob,
Wobbley-Bobbley,
came down from Syderney
to run a little herbari-um
up at the ANBG.
Peter Peter
Bridgewater Bridgewater
devious bastard he,
didn't tell us his plans for a merger
in 1993.
Interleave, interleave
Specimens, specimens,
a million by one point three
it took several years of backache and tears
'midst screams from the Nursery
Then catch-up, catch-up
redets and vouchers
exchange from before Noah's Flood
and IPNI and APNI to make Brendan unhappy
and Laurie and Lindy sweat blood.
Marriage, marriage,
didn't suit everyone
comfort zones left far behind
but cohabitation after some short probation
seemed to suit most of us fine.
 
West, West,
Judy, Judy
Who Must Be Obeyed is She
Somehow kept us straight and narrow
except when she went overseas.
Gradually, gradually
without really noticing
we finally got into gear
No problems now that wouldn't be fixed
by four more new staff every year.
Now it's Masters, Masters
two sets of management
Three sets of annual reports
Plans? we've got plans, up to our ... elbows
and no time for work or thought.
Now James James
Croftie Croftie
mighty King of IT
Is getting his Virtual Australian Herbarium
so he doesn't need me.
So Bob, Bob,
older and greyer,
is back off to Syderney
but he'll miss his colleagues and friends
at CPBR and at ANBG.
[B.M.  Aged 45 1/2]
 

Farewell to Bob Makinson


Jim:
Thank you all for coming and sharing this meal, this last supper as it were, to farewell Bob from the Gardens and the Herbarium, and mark his transition to his new life after Canberra... indeed what some may consider an afterlife…
I will miss Bob and the contribution he has made on a variety of levels to the running of the herbarium and the formation and operation of the Centre…
And I know all of us will miss him and regret his departure on a number of levels, for a variety of reasons, as a friend and colleague, both professionally and personally…
Bob, we all wish you well, for the future and your new career…
OK… that's enough of the touchy feely, new-age sensitive and aware, emotional stuff… let's get down to the dirt…
 
In planning his retirement from EA, apart from escaping before the real onset of a Canberra winter, Bob thought he was going to escape the Environment Australia staff appraisal, performance evaluation, peer assessment 360 degree feedback thing… Wrong!
We are here to tell you that he is going to receive the full treatment… right here… right now… a full 720 worth... with double twist and pike…
Brendan:
You are going to learn more than you ever wanted to know about the man described as a cross between Philip Adams and Eric Bogle, whose apparent address is Tilley’s Café in Lyneham, a closet botanist who professes conservation while killing fish for pleasure, all the while being a folk-scene groupie… a truly complex person…
We all think we know Bob, but what you are about to hear will shock and astound, amaze and horrify…
Jim:
To start the ball rolling, in planning for this party we had to work out who to invite… staff, colleagues, etc. and we asked Bob who in particular he would like to come (all of you, which speaks for itself)… and who he would not like to come (only two, which is not bad for a decade of opportunity to collect enemies)…
Julie could not resist the temptation and asked "and what about all your old girlfriends Bob? Should we invite those?"
Bob looked down at his hands… and we thought, "oh dear, we’ve gone too far"…
Then he started moving his fingers… Geez Bob! You’re onto your second hand!
Brendan:
Of the Herbarium staff who live closest to the Herbarium, Bob is one of two to have driven in to work every day. The other is Ted Moore, who, at 93 years of age, probably has a good excuse not to walk. Still, it’s easy to see why Bob chose to drive every day:

  1. He has two cars, and you really need to make sure they both turn over and are running OK
  2. It takes 7 minutes to walk, but it only takes 6 minutes to drive
  3. It’s a lot quicker to drive to Discovery from the Herbarium to buy your lunch than it is to walk there
  4. The presence of your car in the car park is a sure sign to management that you are indeed in the office and working your ass off in the service of science.
  5. By using different cars on different days you can impress upon your colleagues how cool you are to have two cars, and how cod ordinary they are to have only one.
Still, it’s reassuring to know that the conservation of Australia’s flora is soon to be entrusted to the hands of such an environmentally conscious individual.
Jim:
In keeping with running cars in duplex mode, Bob’s concern for the environment runs so far as to include him keeping not one, but two cats, those playful regulators of Australia’s vertebrate fauna…
Bob’s concern for the well being of his cats is exemplified by the time he carefully arranged for housemate Anthony Whalen to feed them while he was away – the cats were safely locked in the house, with enough food for a week, while Anthony was outside… with the wrong key…
Brendan:
It’s obvious why Bob works so tirelessly for plant conservation and the environment…
Anyone who works twice as hard as anyone else to stuff it up has to work twice as hard to fix it…
Jim:
Bob's agility with keys was reaffirmed only last night, when he found himself unable to get the house key into the lock of Murray's house, where the pair of them are bloking it up while Bob is without a house and Rosemary is away trekking in Nepal…
He had to call Murray at the office to come home and let him in…
Hell, what's the problem? Any junkie can get into Murray's house, and they do so on a regular basis any time they need a new TV or video recorder…
Brendan:
Bob, like many of us, is not what you would call a morning person, so whenever he needed to be up early, he organized a wake-up call from Telstra…
The call would come through at 6 am…
Bob would get up, walk down the corridor (waking up his housemate in the process), answer the phone…
and GO BACK TO BED!!
20 minutes later, his alarm goes off, Bob hits the snooze button, gets up and leaves….
10 minutes later the alarm comes on….. and stays on…
Too bad if your housemate wants to sleep in!
Of course none of this was a problem when Bob let the wake-up call go through to his answering machine…
 
Jim:
Bob was seen prancing up and down King Cross participating in the recent Mardi Gras
He claims this was a show of solidarity for the reconciliation float…
The remainder of this comment has been censored in the interests of the Centre’s future ….
 
Brendan:
Bob's athleticism is legendary…
He is one of only two able-bodied staff (the other being Anthony) who prefer using the Centre lift to get between the first and second floor, in preference to the invigorating openness of the stairs…
 
Jim:
Also legendary is the length of Bob’s herbarium labels…
Whole teams of data base operators have been permanently incapacitated with RSI and emotionally scarred as a result of his verbal prowess and prolixity…
The real reason database development and amalgamation took so long was to deal with the fact that the print and storage capabilities of the database had to be extended to cope with the extra data!
Bob is perhaps the only botanist whose scientific papers are shorter than his specimen labels….
Brendan:
Bob has an amazing eye for detail, and would never produce a mere paragraph when a volume or two would do…
Indeed, the reams of paper coming out of, or staying in, Bob's office has been fertile ground for a whole new lexicon of managerial and structural jargon…
In no other organisation does one "accrete staff", or "bootstrap interns", but we do… he probably wants to "jack-knife" them as well…
Similarly, we don’t have meetings, we ‘workshop issues among key players and stakeholders to achieve a win-win situation’
If a clean desk is truly a sign of a sick mind, Bob is definitely one of the most intellectually healthy individuals on this planet…
As a parting gesture, and in an attempt to raise the mental vigour of the whole organization, over the last few weeks, Bob has been emptying his office and spreading piles of brain food over every one else's desks…including mine…
Jim:
Bob definitely has a way with words especially when it comes to women...
The pinnacle of this aspect of his career, and probably a career-limiting cusp, followed a failed attempt to find Randy Bayer to sign a requisition for something or other...
In desperation Bob waltzes into Judy's office with an innocence asks: "can you be Randy long enough to fulfill this request?"...
Brendan:
Bob is a compulsive/assertive consumer of Nicotiana... During winter he can always be seen out in the freezing cold inhaling its warm vapours...
Bob is totally aggressive in defense of the weed, and as one of his first acts in the Gardens took on the might of ANBG Visitors Services when they dared to touch out the pipe in the portrait of Crosbie Morrison because they could not find a picture of him without a pipe in his mouth...
Bob fumed and fulminated, accusing Visitors Services of historical revisionism and all sorts of indescribable acts... fighting it all the way to the butt...
but as is so common when it come to matters of truth - he lost...
Jim:
The annual Botanical Internship Program provides a rich trove of Bobisms… every year there is something memorable for the archives.
On paper the Intern was created as an extension and labour supplementation device to improve the productivity and efficiency of the Herbarium…
But we all know what it really is… a thinly disguised ploy to bring a heap of bright eyed, enthusiastic young women (and few token blokes) into the building…
Bob's outrageous Intern acts are too numerous to list, but we will pick out a few highlights…
 
 
Brendan:
In all ways the gastronomic gourmet, and consummate chef:
On a Jervis Bay field trip, Bob's fire-lighting and fire management skills managed to raise the temperature of the BBQ hotplate to white-hot industrial blast-furnace temperature, thereby instantly annihilating the sausages Anthony and I placed on it.
On the same field trip, he was caught surreptitiously sneaking off for hamburgers, pies and chips (yes, definitely plural) from the local KrustyBurger, eschewing Julie M’s delicate, healthy home cooking…
 
Jim:
Highlights of Bob's interpretive skills include the structure, population dynamics and ecology of an imaginary Eucalyptus maculata forest…
…rattling on for half an hour in the blazing sun in front of a desolate 100 acre paddock with a single spotted gum in the middle of it…
Top marks for audio visuals…
This effort is rivaled only by another 30 minute interpretation of the geological formations of Fitzroy Falls in a fog so thick you could not see your hand in front of your face…
Brendan:
Bob is real good at giving instructions, but not so hot at reading them, even when he wrote them himself…
In spite of a dire warning about the need for appropriate warm clothing, Bob was forced to buy a ‘stylishly understated’ beige jacket in the Moss Vale St Vincent de Paul after turning up in a tie-dyed t-shirt and pair of shorts
Jim:
Bob's bush sense, navigations skills and sense of position are indeed exceptional.
With the able assistance of Brendan he led a convoy of four white government plated vehicles on a cavalcade through every single street in the sleepy coastal hamlet of Manyana searching for a patch of non-existent bush and extremely significant red dirt.
They had been there a couple of months before, so to ask for directions would have been just too mortifying…
 
Brendan:
Those who have anything to do with Bob in the field (or any other nocturnal activity) know he doesn’t just snore…
He communicates with ultra low-frequency submarine early warning systems. You don’t just hear Bob snore, you, and everyone else in a 10 km radius feels it…
On the basis of this he argued for, and won, his own room on the Intern field trips…
…except for this year when Frank Zich was made to share with Bob as part of his induction into the Interns Program
 
 
Jim:
When recently in Sydney, I asked some of Bob's old girlfriends in the herbarium if they were looking foward to having him back…
They thought for a little while and replied: "He’s been away so long he thinks we’ve forgotten what he’s like…
But we haven't!!!"
You’re in for a good time Bob!
Good luck!
We will now pass you to the dulcet vocal stylings of our very own Botany choir, The Grevilliettes, for a parting hymn to Bob….

********************

Farewell Auntie Bob


To be sung to the tune of Farwell Auntie Jack
A tribute to the man so aptly described as a cross between Phillip Adams and Eric Bogle, on the occasion of his leaving the ANBG to defect to Sydney.
Lyrics: Jeanette Mill with able assistance with additional dirt from Helen Hadobas, Ros Grace, Brendan Lepschi, Anthony Whalen and Jim Croft.
Farewell Auntie Bob
Enjoy your new job
Though you’re not far away
We really wish that you’d stay
 
You’re big bright and hairy
But you’re not so scary
There are screams as you plummet away
He drives a small car
And he helps out with ANTAR
Botany is his passion
And he’s really into fashion
He likes his plants dead
And squashed flat, it’s said
With fungi and slime moulds he’s friends
Although nothing’s sillier
He works on Grevillea
With many a discovery
And population recovery
And with Astrotricha
He’s such a great liker
SPOKEN: Well, I guess somebody has to do it
The interns he craves
They make such good slaves
All they want to do is hack
He berates them for being so slack
If he’s not around
At Tilley’s he’ll be found
A Machiatto sets everything right
Folk music is his scene
On parodies he’s keen
He writes clever words
And he likes to look at birds

He revels in fishes
Not as much as he wishes
And the same could be said for his cats
 
So farewell Auntie Bob
Enjoy your new job
It’s in conservation
So he’ll save the nation
The plants they need you
But we need you too
So, please, don’t stay too long away.

********************
 

********************
Pennie Hohnen has also recently left the Centre. Pennie joined CSIRO Plant Industry over 12 years ago in a largely databasing job share situation with Joan Graham. Her job evolved over the period she was with us so that for some years she managed the specimen database, including responding to clients and the tasks she enjoyed most - map generation from collections data.
Pennie has taken on a big challenge in her new life, becoming a full time student again studying architectural design. From all accounts this appears to have been the right decision as she has excelled and as usual is working at very high standards and setting the pace for her fellow students.
Pennie’s cheerful and helpful nature is missed greatly around the Centre. Besides the fact that everyone now has to work out how to do their own maps, I’ll miss Pennie’s agreeable and cooperative attitude - always ready to hop in when short term assistance was required. Many thanks Pennie.
[Judy West]

********************
Pennie’s parting words…
‘twas once upon a dozen year
when herbaria became my career
the pursuit of botanical data capture
filled the next decade with rapture
fresh from the school of hort
willing and able to be taught
by Kirsten Tricia and Jo
the secrets of specimen flow
building sixty-five, a favorite haunt
piles of exchange enough to daunt
mounting material from herbarium press
and mastering the ways of Titan/Texpress
this apprenticeship led to a rise in station
in charge of database admin’stration
reports for research and use in the field
data exchange all over the world
erin contracts proved a challenge for us
keying data of grasses and eucalyptus
the ranks of our team began to swell
with the coming of Maggie and Marion as well
 
Judy’s plan was to create the Centre
merging herbaria of siro and anca
the centre creation, a personal plus
no longer could we say ‘them and us’
Sara and Julie P enhanced IT
boosting the rates of data entry
a tradition was begun that continues today
Bronwyn, Julie M and Helena - hurray
in plotting of species distribution
Mapinfo and Pennie became the solution
from specimen to database and then to map
from datafile to image with ne’er a mishap
this doggerel of mine could go on and on
however its time to bid you anon
I’ll keep in touch make no mistake
preferably on Wednesday, when there’s cake….
[Pennie Hohnen]

********************
Thank You
On behalf of the Centre I’d like to thank all of the staff who happily contribute their time and effort into preparing and arranging everything for these Centre events. These are not small tasks and a good deal of cooperation and organization goes into them to make such a resounding success. In the case of these recent farewells I am sure Pennie and especially Bob will remember the event for the rest of their lives.

For Pennie’s BBQ under the oak tree thanks to Jo Palmer for taking the lead, Julie Matarczyk and Bronwyn Collins and many other helpers for pulling it all together and assisting on the day. Pennie definitely appreciated it, having been one of the main organisers in the past.
Julie Paul was the prime driving force pulling everything together for Bob’s send-off. This was a rather large affair and took much coordination of catering and logistical arrangements too. Julie had assistance from an extensive team of herbarium staff and others from living collections – thanks everybody. It was a very appropriate occasion, even though a little sad. Bob found it be a rather moving experience, which he greatly appreciated.
[Judy West]

********************
 
1. Herbarium
Cryptogams
The month of May was begun with an Open Day for the Herbarium here on the Gardens site, which was quite successful. The cryptogamists put on a display of herbarium material, showing the differences between mosses, liverworts, lichens  and fungi in the herbarium, and a display of live material in the Prep room along a time Line of all the cryptogamic groups from the fungi up to the Wollemi Pine.
The Cryptogam Herbarium will be hosting some visitors over the next three months . Firstly Dr Sue Studlar has just recently arrived from the US with her husband who is Donley T. Studlar, a Visiting Fellow in Political Science at the Research School of the Social Sciences (RSSS), ANU. Sue is from West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. She has been involved in mainly ecological, floristic, phytogeographic aspects of bryology and will give a talk (or two) while she is here on "Bryophyte Ecology: An Appalachian Perspective".
Other visitors in June are Dr Sam Hammer (from University of Boston) and Dr Paula DePriest (from the Smithsonian Institute), who are lichenologists. Both will be bringing their students along too. Both Sam and Paula specialize in the lichen genus Cladonia.
Next month I will be out in the field collecting bryophytes in North Queensland with Dr Elizabeth Brown from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, Andi Cairns from James Cook University in Townsville and Dr Tamas Pocs and his wife from Hungary. I am particularly interested in the hornworts, which are their most diverse in Northern Queensland, as well as the simple thalloid liverwort genus Fossombronia, and the complex thalloids, Asterella and Riccia.
[Christine Cargill]

********************
2. Research Groups
NEW FROM AUSTRALIAN BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES STUDY
KEY TO THE GENERA OF AUSTRALIAN LICHENS: APOTHECIAL CRUSTS
(Flora of Australia Supplementary Series No. 11)
By H. T. LUMBSCH, P. M. MCCARTHY & W. M. MALCOLM
This  guide enables the user to identify the 151 genera of apothecial crustose lichens currently known from Australia. However, its usefulness will be much broader, and it will greatly facilitate the identification of microlichens in South-East Asia, Malesia, Melanesia and the South Pacific, all of which share most of their genera with tropical Australia.
 
Primary diagnostic characters are supplemented with information on thallus morphology, apothecial anatomy, ascospores, conidia and thallus chemistry. The current diversity and broad-scale distribution in Australia are outlined along with substratum preferences and known global diversity and global broad-scale distribution. Literature references are listed for each genus. The key is illustrated with 173 superb colour photographs.
vi + 64 pages, A5, soft cover; price A$31 (incl. G.S.T., postage and handling).
[Pat McCarthy]
patrick.mccarthy@deh.gov.au

********************
3. Information Technology and Data Management
3.1 WWW Site
The URL for the Centre can be found at: http://www.cpbr.gov.au
Please check regularly for new items of interest re Centre staff and activities.

 
3.2 What's Its Name?

-Proteaceae-
a concise listing of plant names & name changes for Australia
edited by Lindy Cayzer & Greg Whitbread


The publication, What's its Name? -Proteaceae-, provides a hardcopy check-list of active or current plant names in the Australian Proteaceae. It is available as a free publication from ABRS and has been extracted from What's its Name on-line, which is being developed at: http://www.anbg.gov.au/win/
This publication is available free of charge from:
ABIF-Flora, Australian Biological Resources Study
GPO Box 787, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
Tel: (02) 6250 9445 Int: (61 2) 6250 9445
Fax: (02) 6250 9448 Int: (61 2) 6250 9448
Email: abif_flora@deh.gov.au
 
The Flora of Australia series (Proteaceae: Volumes 16, 17A & 17B) of the Australian Biological Resources Study has been a primary source of information for updating APNI for the subsequent generation of What's its Name - Proteaceae; in addition a search of botanical literature for Australia has been undertaken to ensure all name changes since publication of APNI were treated. As only recent (mostly since 1990) nomenclatural and taxonomic changes are shown, readers wanting more detail on a particular species or genus should refer either to the cited references, to the APNI web site http://www.anbg.gov.au/cpbr/databases/apni.html/, or to the What's its Name website at http://www.anbg.gov.au/win/
The Flora of Australia volumes produced by ABRS are available in hardcopy through CSIRO Publishing. These volumes are now being prepared for electronic delivery through the developing ABIF-Flora database of ABRS, which will be available at: http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif_flora.html/
National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry
What's its Name? : A concise list of plant names & name changes for Australia. Proteaceae. Bibliography. Includes index ISBN 0 642 56812 X. 1. Botany - Australia - Nomenclature. 2. Proteaceae - Australia. I. Cayzer, Lindy. II. Whitbread, Greg. III. Australian Biological Resources Study.
581.994
This work may be cited as:
L.Cayzer & G.Whitbread, What's its Name?: Proteaceae. Canberra : ABRS (2001).
"What's Its Name" is a collaborative project of the Australian Biological Resources Study, Australian National Botanic Gardens and the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research.

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3.3 101 FOREST FUNGI OF EASTERN AUSTRALIA
By A.Young
This innovative CD ROM contains 101 forest fungi that commonly occur in eastern Australia. This is the first interactive identification key for macrofungi to be produced in Australia. It has been designed to be suitable for beginners to advanced students of biology. As an interactive key, the user can choose the characters used and the order in which they are used. The CD has an extensive library of images outlining the characteristics of fungi to assist the user as they progress through the key. Each species is illustrated in colour and has extensive accompanying notes. The images, information and key design were the work of Dr Tony Young, a leading fungal specialist. The key has been published by ABRS in partnership with Knowledge Books and Software, Qld.
[Ian Cresswell]

********************
4. Education and Communication
Miscellany of Activities
I am now spending more time at the Centre than I did last year and am involved in a miscellany of activities.   These include entering Hepatics into APNI and organising a botanical art exhibition for the Legumes Down Under Conference in July.
In these contexts I need help.   Actually I am beyond help with APNI.  However, you may be able to assist with the art exhibition.   Do you have an art work depicting a legume(s)?   I am borrowing original art work for display at the exhibition.   If you do have an art work that you would be prepared to lend please come and talk to me and I can discuss what I have in mind (then you can make up your mind if you will/won't lend.
[Helen Hewson]

********************

  1. General Centre Matters
Strategic and Operational Plans
The Centre Strategic and Operational Plans 2000-2004 have been printed and distributed to Board members and some senior managers of both CSIRO and EA. All Centre staff should have now received electronic copies, and a couple of hard copies were placed in the tearoom of the Centre.
The Strategic Plan will be loaded onto the Centre Website.
The Operational Plan is regarded more as our in-house working document ,which will be updated on a rolling annual basis. The first phase of this is to respond to the milestones that were set for 2000 and 2001. We trialled some brief milestone responses prepared by the Program Leaders, with the Board at the recent meeting. Board members were pleased with our one or two line responses and we have proceeded to complete the task for all projects included in the Operational Plan. Program Leaders will be contacting you soon if they haven’t already.
The idea is to respond to the agreed milestones mid-year, and this seems to have been an appropriate decision since the Program Leaders indicated that it was not a difficult task to respond to the milestones at this time because they had recently updated everything for the internal research review and through the personal performance processes.
Once the mid-year reporting is complete, the Operational Plan will be updated to incorporate changes in staff and projects in accordance with agreed individual and project workplans, and projected milestones will be revisited for the next 3-4 years.
[Judy West]

********************
 
 
Board meeting
The recent Board meeting held May 18 went very smoothly. Board members were extremely positive and congratulated the Centre on some of our recent successes and particularly in relation to the clear linkages and interactions between the herbarium and research and applications on the ground. I include here part of my Director’s report to the Board and also a couple of ‘slides’ that I talked to in summarising some of these recent achievements.
"Centre Developments and Synergies
One year into its second ‘life’ the Centre is progressing in the directions that the Board and its earlier Advisory Committee envisaged. The profile of the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research has reached a level where it is now recognized as an entity and is consulted widely. It is evident that the Centre is humming, staff generally interact well and appear to be satisfied with their work, productivity is high, and enthusiasm is exciting.
In the past year we have been particularly successful in bringing to reality many of the synergies that we have spent considerable effort developing since the formation of the Centre. We have some good examples of delivery of research outcomes to the community with on-the-ground applications.
In most areas of the Centre’s activities we are developing a sound balance between basic research and the more applied projects.
Programs across the Centre have greater linkages and interactions, and our outward relationships continue to expand with positive feedback from stakeholders. The increasing demand for botanical information at local, regional, national and international levels, partly stimulated by further web access, has the potential to grow out of control and particularly as more data from Australia’s Virtual Herbarium comes on line.
In general the Centre has productive interactions and collaborations with other sections of our two Parties, and senior scientists play significant roles in the Biodiversity Sector of CSIRO. ABRS and the Centre have developed strong partnerships on several fronts. ….."

[Judy West]


diagram
 

For those unfamiliar with these acronyms:
APNI – Australian Plant Name Index
AVH – Australia’s Virtual Herbarium
ANHSIR – Australian National Herbarium Specimen Information Register (the specimen database)
IPNI – International Plant Names Index (project with Harvard Univ. and Kew)
WIN – What’s Its Name – project to deliver name changes in friendly fashion
SPRAT – Species Profile and Threats Database – of EA

 

diagram
 
This slide was used to highlight to the Board members some of our new initiatives taken in the Centre in the past 6 months.
For some of these projects we have secured significant amounts of funding, e.g. for the AVH $1.1M over 5 years, for Conservation genetics & remnant veg. $500K over 3 years, while for others we have submissions currently under consideration.
Staff changes or new appointments mean that we are taking steps into new areas, such as with Chris Cargill in the cryptogams and Rogier deKok in Lamiales, and the Myer PDF in geospatial modelling.
Partnerships are critical to many of these initiatives and those with ABRS are developing well (e.g. e-floras, including the electronic pteridophyte flora) and with WACALM (remnant veg.) and with all of the Australian herbaria for the AVH.


 

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6. Other News
This month’s quotable quote:
While demonstrating EUCLID during the Open Days recently, in response to a question from an eager learner Ian Brooker was heard to say "I don’t know, I don’t use it"


 

 
7. Diary of Events/Activities

Date Event/Activity Who Details (relate to projects)
17 May Pennie Hohnen’s farewell   ANH
18 May CPBR Board Meeting Board members Map Room, CPBR
24 May Bob Makinson’s farewell   CSIRO/ANBG border
13-20 June GBIF 2nd Governing Board meeting, Bonn Judy West Votes to be taken on location of GBIF Secretariat, Aust. is an option
9-19 June TDWG/CODATA workshop,Santa Barbara, Jim Croft, Greg Whitbread Development of international data standards
1-6 July Legumes Downunder Conference, Canberra, ANU Several staff 4th International Legume conference
1-3 August Biodiversity Sector External Review Judy West, Jeremy Burdon