Issue 26: March 2000



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 Suzie Dietrich, the coordinator.


Suzie Dietrich: ph (02) 6246 5533; fax (02) 6246 5249; email:



1. Herbarium and Services

1.1 Student Botanical Internship Program – Report for 2000

Participants and Institutions

A total of 17 applications were received for the 2000 Program, with 17 placements offered and accepted. One Intern withdrew from the Program early in the second week due to personal reasons, but all remaining 16 Interns successfully completed the Program. Eight universities and one TAFE institute were represented, as well as the ANBG Living Collections section. As in previous years, ANU remains the main recruitment source (seven Interns), although national participation is still strong. Participants in the 2000 Program came from the ACT, NSW and Victoria.

Work Output

Output achieved by Interns during 2000 is roughly equal to 1.7 net years work (of an entry-level TO), based on a 200-day working year, with time worked in the first two weeks of the Program halved (due to the teething problems usually experienced at this early stage). Work carried out by Interns in 2000 included mounting and incorporation of vascular and non-vascular specimens, general curatorial activities in both the vascular and non-vascular collections, assistance with loans and exchange (especially with return loans), databasing, determining specimen geo-codes, spirit collection maintenance, assistance to the CPBR Library, re-organisation of the cryptogamic and non-flowering vascular plant collections on the ANBG site, cataloguing and re-organising of the field map collections, assistance to various research groups (Hibiscus, Melaleuca, Orchids, Pultenaea), major input into the Greening the Grainbelt (Harden-Murrumburrah Landcare) Project, and general lab and herbarium tasks.


No major difficulties were encountered during the running of the 2000 Program, apart from some relatively minor (but annoying) IT-related problems. Some equally minor glitches occurred during the four-day field trip to Jervis Bay, but these should be well and truly ironed out by the 2001 Program. The low number of applications for the 2000 Program is a matter of some concern, as is student accommodation costs, which continues to be a major hurdle for most interstate potential participants.


Approximate calculations indicate a cost of $6000 (including overhead running costs) to run the 2000 Interns Program, roughly twice as much as for the 1999 Program. Most of this cost was generated by the residential field trip, and associated vehicle hire and fuel costs.


The major publicity angle for the 2000 Program was the Greening the Grainbelt (Harden-Murrumburrah Landcare) Project which involved a number of Interns. Media releases were done via EA Publicity and were directed to local media and Interns’ hometown newspapers in the last week of the Program. Some local radio coverage (ABC Radio National, ABC South Coast and ABC Maitland) was forthcoming, but otherwise response was not overwhelming. No media attended the Graduation Ceremony (featuring The Hon. Dr Sharman Stone MHR), unlike 1999 when the presence of CSIRO CEO Malcolm McIntosh ensured a modicum of attention.


The 2000 Interns Program was again highly successful. Work output was high overall, although spread over a somewhat narrower range of tasks than in 1999. The participation of another ANBG staff member in the Program for the fifth year running, was again most valuable, both for the Herbarium and the ANBG. All Interns were also provided with Evaluation Forms for the Program, and of those received so far, overall feedback has been very positive. These forms are available from Brendan Lepschi for any staff interested in perusing them.


The success of the 2000 Program is in no small part due to the considerable efforts of a number of Centre staff, outside academics and others who freely gave their time to present lectures and training sessions, as well as providing supervision for Intern work teams. We are most grateful to all concerned. Thanks are also due to all Centre staff, especially those at the Herbarium, for their tolerance, enthusiasm and support during the course of the Program.

[Brendan Lepschi]


1.2 C and D Review

The Centre will hold a review of the Curation and Database areas (Program C & D) on Wednesday, 12 and Thursday, 13 April. The Review will start at 10:00 am on Wednesday, and finish at 3:00 pm on Thursday.

All staff are requested to attend this Review to assist in the development of these areas for the Centre in future.

We have decided to have a Review Panel with one external participant, Dr Ken Hill, RBG Sydney, and some internal participants covering our other Programs, including David Jones, Ben Wallace and Richard Groves.

[Judy West]


2. Research Groups

2.1 Leader for Program U

Tony Brown is going overseas early in April, mainly working in Europe, for three months. Since this is a substantial period for one of our Program Leaders to be away, we have decided that we should identify someone to carry on with the tasks in Program B "Conservation Biology and Utilisation of the Australian Flora".

So, Jim Peacock has asked Andrew Young to lead Program B for the next 12 months beginning April 3.

Andrew works in both Centre labs on the CSIRO site - the herbarium and the new area in building 1 - but his main residency will remain in the herbarium (building 502).

[Judy West]

3. Information Technology and Data Management

3.1 WWW Site

The URL for the Centre can be found at:

Please check regularly for new items of interest re Centre staff and activities.


4. Education and Communication

4.1 Centre Flyer

The new flyer outlining the activities and functions of the Centre is now available after a long gestation period. Please feel free to use the flyer to promote the Centre and to help inform your colleagues, clients and stakeholders. Supplies are with Louisa at the front desk.

[Judy West]


5. General Centre Matters

5.1 Executive Committee

With the development of the new Centre Agreement we had some discussions concerning linkages to and liaison with our immediate stakeholders, such as the ANBG and ABRS. As a means of furthering those interactions we amended the Agreement to enable senior representatives of such bodies to attend our EC meetings on a regular basis. This can be done via recommendation of the Director and with approval of the Board . To this end, both Tony Orchard as ABRS Executive Editor, Flora and Ben Wallace as Curator of ANBG Living Collections have been invited to attend the EC meetings.

[Judy West]


5.2 CPBR Seminars

The CPBR’s lunch time seminar series is underway again, with a list of the scheduled speakers posted on the notice board in the tea room. Seminars are held at 12.30 on the first Thursday of each month in the Herbarium tea room, unless notified otherwise. I’m always looking for new speakers so if you know of any visitors to the Centre who would be in a position to give a seminar, or if you’d like to give one yourself (!), please let me know. The scheduled seminars over the coming months are listed on the following page.

[Tony Willis]


CPBR Seminars






Mark Clements

What is Dendrobium and why all the fuss?: A reappraisal of generic delimitation in Dendrobiinae (Orchidaceae)


Peter Linder, University of Cape Town

A protocol for delimiting areas of endemism


Scott Kelchner, CPBR

Life in the mist: biogeography and evolution of the Andean bamboos


David Jones

Macrozamia: aspects of structure, biology and taxonomy


Bob Makinson

Biogeography of Grevillea (formal title still to be announced)



  1. Diary of Events/Activities




Details (relate to projects)

8 April – 17 July

Overseas travel to Morocco, Italy, Malaysia and Germany

Tony Brown

IPGRI workshop in Morocco; working as HRF at IPGRI in Italy; international conference on genetic resources in Malaysia; research study on Brassicaceae in Germany.

10 April

BDAC Biodiversity Research Priorities Workshop

Judy West, Jeremy Burdon, Jim Croft, Lyndel Sutton

Workshop hosted by EA and CPBR to bring together senior stakeholders in national biodiversity research programs.

12-13 April

Review of Programs C & D

All Staff


18 April

CSIRO Collections Group

Judy West

Meeting of CSIRO Collections Group at CSRIO Forestry

19 April

National Secretary’s Day

Judy West

Guest speaker at the National Secretary’s Day luncheon at the Park Royal, Canberra

1-5 May

Australian Research Council

Jeremy Burdon


25-26 May

CSIRO Biodiversity Sector Advisory Committee

Judy West and Jeremy Burdon


4-9 June

Overseas travel to the Netherlands

Rogier de Kok

Rogier will give a research talk at the Biogeography of Southeast Asia Conference in the Netherlands.

5-6 June

BDAC & World Environment Day, Adelaide

Judy West


5 June – 15 June

Overseas travel to the USA

Andrew Young

Andrew will give a research seminar at UC Davis, California and a paper at the annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology, Missoula, Montana.

July 2000 –
Jun 2001

Visiting Scientist

Professor Brenda Wingfield

Univ. of Pretoria, South Africa. Expert in application of molecular techniques to fungal systematics. Will spend one-year sabbatical at the Centre working with Jeremy Burdon on systematics of the Uredinales (rust fungi).