Issue 29: September 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 Val Oliver, the coordinator.

Val Oliver: ph (02) 6246 5533; fax (02) 6246 5249; email:


1. Herbarium and Services

Cryptogams at Wollongong (18-19 September) and Tumut (26 September).

In response to a request from Wollongong University we held an introductory cryptogam workshop in Wollongong for the Botany Department and Janet Cosh Herbarium. There were 10 participants, both staff and students (final year undergraduate to PhD).

We gave an overview of collecting techniques, post-collection processing/preparation and the management of a cryptogam collection. We also talked about identification, with a brief review of the basic literature as well as a small amount of hands-on microscope study of particular features.

The Botany Department provided excellent facilities, which resulted in a couple of very productive days. The participants were an enthusiastic audience, with numerous  questions across a variety of topics. Many of the people would be keen to come to CANB for a one-week CHAH-type cryptogam training workshop to build on this foundation. In any event, some of them are very likely to make individual visits to CANB to see our collections and follow up topics of interest, especially now that good contacts have been established.

Tumut Landcare asked us for a "get-to-know the fungi and lichens" day.

We had a varied audience of 15 people comprising agricultural students, landholders and others involved with land regeneration. As well as introducing fungi and lichens, bryophytes also gained a guernsey. After indoor presentations and questions, we moved outside to look at a variety of cryptogams in situ - and were magnificently rewarded with a fertile liverwort virtually on the doorstep.

Judging by the positive feedback from both Wollongong and Tumut, they obviously enjoyed the days as much as we did.

[Judith Curnow and Heino Lepp].


  1. Research Groups


BOTANY 2000 CONFERENCE - Portland, Oregon, USA (August 6-10)

The Botany 2000 conference was attended by three members from the Centre - Randy Bayer, Greg Chandler, and Scot Kelchner.  Each of us presented papers (see Lit. Cit.) at the Conference.  564 talks were presented at the conference covering all four pillars of botanical wisdom.   Botany 2000 is the first conference that the BSA (Botanical Society of America) has held since leaving the AIBS (American Institute of Biological Sciences).  In addition to BSA, several other societies met.  These included American Bryological and Lichenological Society (ABLS), American Fern Society (AFS), American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT), and the International Association of Plant Taxonomists (IAPT). 

My main interest in the conference was going to see the Asteraceae talks in session 13, an afternoon dedicated to talks on my favourite family.  I also chaired a session on miscellaneous taxonomic groups, the session in which Greg gave his talk.  I also attended the inaugural meeting of 'Deep Achene" a group of synantherologists from around the world who want to produce a molecular phylogeny of the entire Composite family.  There will be some 30 contributors to the project and Ilse Breitwieser (CHR), Jo Ward (CHR) and I will contribute Gnaphalieae sequences.  This meeting was held to lay out the initial "plan of attack".  We shall meet each year at the conference to discuss progress and problems. 

I also went to a surprise retirement party for my former major professor, Daniel Crawford.  Many of his former students and friends were there and we all got up and said nice things about Dan. 

Greg spent a fair amount of time talking with Greg Plunkett from Virginia Commonwealth University, his new boss for his upcoming postdoc.

The Botany 2001 meeting will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


Bayer, Randall J., David G. Greber, and Neil H. Bagnall.  - A phylogenetic reconstruction of Australian Gnaphalieae (Asteraceae) based on four chloroplast and nuclear sequences.

Chandler, Gregory T., Randall J. Bayer, and Michael D. Crisp. - Molecular revision of Gastrolobium (Fabaceae: Mirbelieae), using the matK 5' intron, external transcribed spacer and psbA-trnH intergenic spacer.

Kelchner, Scot A. - Alignment and analysis of noncoding cpDNA sequences: implications of molecular evolution for phylogeny estimation.

Kelchner, Scot A., Randall J. Bayer, Robert J. Chinnock, Michael D. Crisp, and Judy G. West. - A data partition analysis of noncoding sequence evolution in Bontia and Myoporaceae.

Abstracts from the conference can be viewed at:

[Randy Bayer]



Welcome PDF Trudi Mullett

The Centre is delighted to welcome Dr Trudi Mullett into the Environmental Weeds Group.

Trudi will be working on the north coast of NSW in bitou bush invaded coastal headland communities which contain rare plant species in the native vegetation. Through this project she will be working very closely with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service personnel. Together they will refine the bitou bush management system, developed by John Vranjic, for plant communities in areas where bitou bush develops faster than in the communities where the model was first developed.

Some staff may remember Trudi from the 12th Australian Weeds Conference in Hobart where she presented work from her PhD thesis "The ecology of Pittosporum undulatum an environmental weed in south east Australia". She did both her PhD and BSc(hons) at Deakin Uni's Rusden Campus at Clayton in Melbourne.

Trudi has a contract until June 2002 with the Weeds CRC and comes to us from DNRE at Tatura.

Trudi can be contacted on 02 62465498


3. Information Technology and Data Management

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 & Communication

2001 Student Botanical Internship Program

Planning is underway for the ninth Student Botanical Internship Program in 2001.  New look recruitment brochures have been sent to all relevant academics throughout the country, along with new, eye-catching A3-sized posters.  So far five applications have been received, mostly coming via the SBIP page on the Centre website - the next few weeks should see an increase in applications, with the predicted flood a few days before the closing date in mid November. 

In the meantime, staff may like to start considering what tasks in their work areas could usefully benefit from Intern labour over January and February.  Please contact either Brendan Lepschi or Bob Makinson if you have any tasks that could use some willing workers.

The work/training program for the 2001 Internship is being prepared, and will more or less follow that for 2000, with some improvements and refinements as necessary.  Copies of the program will be posted once it is finalised.

[Brendan Lepschi]


5. General Centre Matters


Centre Executive Assistant - Valerie Oliver

Most of you will be aware by now that Val Oliver began with us in September as the Centre Executive Assistant and Personal Assistant to both Jeremy Burdon and Judy West.  We took some time to fill the position after Suzie Dietrich left mainly due to one or other of us being away for longer periods, and it is a delight to have a competent and efficient person on the job again.  Val seems to be settling in to the position and is learning the ropes and the complicated system that we have in the Centre.  She was previously at University of Canberra in the Division of Communication and Education so she is familiar with some of our interests.  I'm sure you will all make her feel welcome.

[Judy West]


Biodiversity Seminar 2000 Series

Biodiversity Seminars

The four topics chosen for the 2000 series "Key Issues in Australia's Biodiversity" attracted good attendance and active participation.  After the introductory sessions of last year, we covered some major issues that Australia must face in the near future and for which we will have to address nationally - being GMOs in the Environment, Salinity and biodiversity, Biodiversity Credits and Invasive Species. If you missed them and want to catch up on what took place, a summary is on the web at:

My special thanks to all those who assisted in organising the series this year.  Pennie Hohnen stepped into the vacant PA position to help me get the ball rolling with all the contacts and distribution of flyers, and also assisted with general organisation, together with Frank Zich and Val Oliver. I am very grateful for all the assistance provided by the Plant Industry Visual Resources Unit lead by Carl Davies and also the Communications Unit lead by Jane Kahler, both extremely efficient and great to work with once again.  Murray Fagg did a slick job in getting the summaries up on the web by the end of each week using the materials from the speakers and Roger Beckmann's summary.

Running the series is pretty intensive organisationally and takes a heavy load on my time particularly.  However, we received a lot of media coverage again this year, most of which had the Centre's name associated with it. This, together with the good attendance, makes it all worthwhile and suggests that is a good investment of time.

[Judy West]


We have analysed the survey forms from the seminars and found that.

the Biodiversity Seminar 2000 Series attracted a diverse group of representatives. CSIRO, Environment Australia and ANU were well represented at all seminars. Other organisations to send delegates included the North Central Catchment Management Authority of Victoria, Umbagong Landcare Group, Robertson Environment Protection Society, AFFA, Upper Murrumbidgee Landcare, Biotechnology Australia and the Dept of Foreign Affairs.

[Val Oliver]


6. Other News


7. Diary of Events/Activities





Details (relate to projects)

18 Oct

Flora Malesiana Planning

Meeting for 2001 Symposium

Judy West, Jim Croft, Lyn Craven, Rogier de Kok

Planning meeting to be held in Sydney

21 Oct

Cape York Natural Heritage Workshop, Cairns

Judy West


24-26 Oct


Andrew Young, Jeremy Burdon

Planning meeting for Remnant Vegetation Program

10-12 Nov

TDWG Frankfurt

Jim Croft, Greg Whitbread


15-16 Nov

Biodiversity Sector ACT,


Jeremy Burdon, Judy West

SAC to meet with stakeholders