Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born ; died on 22 August 2022, in Melbourne, Australia.
Dr Nathalie Nagalingum received her Doctoral degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and worked at Duke University, Harvard University, the University of California Berkeley, and at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. She was then appointed as Associate Curator and the McAllister Chair of Botany at the California Academy of Sciences.
Her research was focused on understanding the long-term persistence of ferns and cycads - ancient lineages that have survived through multiple episodes of radiation and extinction. To address the history of, and processes involved with, these episodes, Nathalie hasd a multi-disciplinary research programme that incorporates field studies, fossil data, microscopy/morphology, molecular DNA sequencing, big data and patterns of distributions.
She was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, but her parents moved there from Mauritius, a tiny tropical island nation about 700 miles east of Madagascar. She spoke with the kind of voice that you wished would narrate everything. While her career as a botanist took her all over the world, her horizons initially seemed much more circumscribed. "I didn’t even know you could be a scientist growing up," Nagalingum recalls. "As a first-generation Mauritian and the first in my family to be a scientist, there was really no set path."
Being an outsider conferred certain advantages, however, allowing her to "approach science from a different angle." She followed her intellectual curiosity to the University of Melbourne, where it evolved into a paleobotany PhD. After completing postdoctoral research at Duke, Harvard, and UC Berkeley, she returned to Australia for a research position at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. She then crossed the Pacific once again to join the California Academy of Sciences in January 2017.
Despite her doctorate and professional pedigree, she encountered resistance early in her career. She was often the only person of color in the room. "People didn't accept that you could wear big earrings and lipstick and also be a scientist. I wasn't taken seriously - until after I gave a seminar."
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0221-9650
Source: Extracted from:
Portrait Photo: Extracted from: https://habitatfoundation.org.my/2018/03/25/nathalie-nagalingum/.
Data from 529 specimens in Australian herbaria