An Australian Government Initiative
Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research  
CPBR logo

Home > CANBR > CPBR News


Issue 48 - September 2002

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


2. Research Groups

Report on the Botany 2002 conference held in Madison, Wisconsin.

I recently attended the joint annual meetings of the American Botanical Society and the American Society for Plant Taxonomists in Wisconsin. The main part of this meeting was held over 3 very busy days, with some workshops held later in the week. It was very valuable to finally meet a number of people that Curt Brubaker, Lyn Craven and I have been corresponding and collaborating with on Malvaceae research. While I can't properly summarise all of the talks and discussions that happened at the meeting, the web site has a searchable list of over 700 abstracts.

Some Botany 2002 highlights:

- Loren Rieseberg on speciation, which highlighted the advanced state that plant speciation knowledge is at compared with animal speciation.

- Claude Depamphlis on the floral genome project, which aims to sequence c. 300 genes from 9 species across the angiosperms, to fill in where there are no model species closely related.

- Several talks and posters on identifying ITS1 and 2 structure which is being used to help alignment.

- Deep gene workshop which brought together a group of people interested in systematics and genomics and seeing how these groups might better interact. A lot of interest was expressed in understanding what happens to genes after polyploid duplication, both short and long term.

- Collaboration session with David Baum (Uni of Wisconsin) was very valuable to coordinate what we are doing in Canberra with what is being done at UW.

Several talks highlighted polyploidy using low-copy nuclear markers. Paralogy assessment was important to the success of data interpretation. Jeff Doyle showed that Glycine appears to be an ancient autopolyploid, maybe 9my old.

Malvaceae talks:

- Jianhua Li on Tilia using fast nuclear introns with a good fossil record was able to infer biogeography very well.

- David Baum on Malvoideae / Bombacoideae showed a dramatic molecular rate increase in Malvoideae, seems to be coupled with increase in speciation.

- Randy Small on Malvoideae showed duplication in waxy nuclear gene family in most malvoids, again paralogy assessment was important - not fully understood yet.

- Rich Cronn on Gossypium, showed 3 different signals in 3 types of data in G. gossypioides - hypotheses of introgression, back-crossing etc needed to explain data.

It was exciting to see a great diversity of low-copy nuclear markers being used in plant systematic studies compared with what has been published in the last few years. Some of these are: waxy (granule-bound starch synthase), histone H3D, IDH (isocitrate dehydrogenase), NIA (nitrate reductase), rpa-d2 (RNA polymerase A to D 2nd largest subunits), ncpGS (nuclear-encoded cp-expressed glutamine sythetase), gcyc (Gesnerid cycloidea homolog), g3pdh, nCox2.

[Bernard Pfeil]


Botany 2002 Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

I attended the Botany 2002 Conference [], which occurred from the 7th to the 11th of August at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The conference was attended by approximately 1,500 persons and there were a total of 708 papers presented. This is an annual conference involving various societies including the American Fern Society (AFS), American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT), Botanical Society of America (BSA), Canadian Botanical Association / L'Association de Botanique du Canada (CBA/ABC), and the Phycological Society of America (PSA). The joint meeting with the Canadian Botanical Association takes place every fourth year.

My main interest was in talks on Asteraceae, which were a series of talks occupying Wednesday morning and afternoon. I gave a talk entitled "A reassessment of tribal affinities of several enigmatic genera of Australian Asteraceae, based on three chloroplast sequences" by Bayer, R. J. and E. W. Cross. The Asteraceae session ended with a meeting of the "Deep Achene" group of synantherologists hoping to reconstruct the phylogeny of the Asteraceae using DNA sequences. Vicki Funk (U.S. National Herbarium) chaired the meeting and it is obvious that a lot more work needs to be done before we will be able to reach our goal. The plans and goals for the International Conference on Compositae, to be held in Pretoria, South Africa in January 2003, was discussed.

Next year, Botany 2003 will be held in Mobile, Alabama with a subsequent meeting in 2004 in Snowbird, Utah.

[Randy Bayer]


South Australian/Victorian Field Trip.

Recently, I undertook a field trip to southwestern Victoria and southeastern South Australia accompanied by Bruce Fuhrer, well-known Victorian naturalist and photographer. The main aim of the trip was to relocate species of Fossombronia for culturing as well as hornworts and Asterella, which I had not collected from this region. We began in Melbourne where Bruce resides, visiting first the Warrandyte State Park. Bruce has been asked by the Park authority to compile a list of the bryophytes found in the park. We collected a number of Fossombronia populations before heading off west to Portland the next day, stopping along roadside verges to collect.

While at Portland, we collected from Yellow Rock surf beach on Nelson Bay, home to salt-spray tolerant Fossombronia maritima. The saline conditions were further explored over the South Australian border along the famous and beautiful Coorong National Park. Several species of Fossombronia, a tiny hornwort and Asterella were collected on saline and sub-saline soils. But the highlight of the trip was the rediscovery of a rare liverwort, related to Fossombronia, Petalophyllum preissii. Bruce and I had located a large patch of fruiting plants almost 20 years ago near Policeman’s Point. While unable to locate this same population we were able to extend its range all along the roadside verges of the main highway along the Coorong.

Still heading west, we stayed in Adelaide for one day and 2 nights, visiting the Morialta Conservation Park close to the Adelaide suburb of Rostrevor. Large populations of Fossombronia and Asterella grew along the banks of the tracks as well as the hornwort Phaeoceros. Leaving Adelaide we travelled through the Adelaide Hills, where again the three main groups I was searching for were found in abundance.

After exploring the Coorong more intensively on the way back, we headed for Victoria and northeast towards the mallee region, just south of Wyperfeld National Park, only to find the area suffering from the drought. Few bryophytes so we headed south to the Grampians where we were not disappointed. The last two days of the trip were spent where I had begun at the Warrandyte State Park where Bruce led me to a large population of an endemic hornwort, Phaeoceros evanidus which is a dioicous species, and populations of both males and females were in abundance. All in all, I was able to collect ~200 specimens of hornworts and liverworts all of which are now either in the process of drying out, maturing their sporophytes in the research glasshouse or had their spores plated out on agar for sterile culture. All in all a very successful trip bryophytically considering the lack of rain in many parts of southern Australia.

[Christine Cargill]


3. Education and Communication

Biodiversity Bites

Dr Trudi Mullett presented a stimulating lecture on Plant Invaders - It’s not only the exotics that are escaping, even some of our natives are on the move - on 2 October as part of the Biodiversity Bites lecture series. Mr Roger Beale, Secretary, Environment Australia, chaired the session and prompted discussion and questions from the audience.

The website address for Trudi’s lecture is

This will be available from Tuesday 8 October .

The date, topic and presenter of the next and final lecture is:

6 November - Bushland on Life Support (presented by Pete Thrall and Linda Broadhurst)

Remnant vegetation and the quality of life – Denis Saunders as MC/Chair

[Judy West]


4. Information Technology and Data Management

Computing hints

This section in the CPBR News provides some quick tips/hints on computing which users may, or may not, find helpful. If staff have any quick and simple hints they use and might like to share, please let Val know for insertion into the next newsletter.

MS Word

1. Three ways to select text:

  1. Click, hold and drag the mouse over the text (for large amounts of text).
  2. Hold down the Shift key and move the cursor with the arrow keys (for line by line selection and small portions of text).
  3. Hold down Ctrl and press "A" (to select all text in document).

2. Sending email direct from Word doc
Word 2000 has a new E-mail button on the top tool bar for direct sending Word documents without having to exit Word. This sends a copy only and the recipient cannot edit without selecting and copying the document into Word. If the icon is not available on your toolbar go to Standard Toolbar and tick Mail Recipient icon.

MS Outlook tasks:

Drag an email from the ‘In’ box to the tasks icon which opens a new task and asks for due dates, etc. A copy of the email remains attached to the task as well as remaining on your email and alleviates the need to return to the email list to see what the task refers to.


Do you visit specific Web sites on a regular basis? Create Favorites within Explorer, OR create a shortcut on your desktop that, when selected, takes you directly to the Web page you want to view. Here’s how: Open Explorer; Open the Web page; Place the mouse in an area of the Web page with no links or banners; Right-click that area and Select Create Shortcut. Now, when you’re connected to the Web, simply click the new desktop icon, and it will bring up Explorer and take you directly to your favorite Web site OR another, and more simple, method is to open your Favorites menu and drag the frequently used icon/s onto to your Office toolbar. Click once on the icon to open the website. The icon will remain on the Favorites list as well as on the Office toolbar.


Select your table, press the F11 key and Excel brings up an automatic graph.


Ctrl C to copy selected text

Ctrl V to paste selected text

Shift Delete to permanently remove emails

Shift + Arrow to select a number of emails

[Val Oliver]


5. General Centre Matters

Next Program U/Centre meeting

The next Program U/Centre formal meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 16 October in the ANH Tearoom at 10.15 am. Agenda items may be forwarded via email to

[Val Oliver]

Native Flora Stamps

For those interested in Australian stamps, there has been a flurry of activity lately with eight stamps with a native flora theme. Calytrix carinata on 4 June Nymphaea immutabilis and Nelumbo nuciferea on 6 August Acmena smithii, Grevillea juncifolia, Santalum acuminatum, Acacia coriacea and Microseris lanceolata as part of a 'bush tucker' series on 3 September.

About five years ago I started putting the botanical stamps on our web site as a way of 'promoting Australian plants', part of the mission of the ANBG. It started as a trivial evening activity with rather dubious copyright concerns, but since Australia Post's Philatelic Group now promote the site we no longer worry. Last week the stamp site got 4,698 hits, so it’s obviously popular and brings us and our plants to the attention of a world-wide audience.

You could see the last few by working backwards from the last: Microceros lanceolatus

[Murray Fagg]