PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
A Publication of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.
6 OCTOBER 1960 NUMBER 4
Problems in Arctic America'
WILLIAM CAMPBELL STEERE
New York Botanical Garden
of the retiring President of the Botanical Society of America,
delivered at the annual banquet at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater,
August 31, 196o.
selected the topic, "Botanical Problems in Arctic America," as being timely
because of the recent admission of Alaska to the Union as the 49th State,
because of the large amount of publicity given to the activities of the International
Geophysical Year in arctic and antarctic regions, and because of the increasing
importance of our northern outposts in the military defense of this continent.
Moreover, after eight field seasons in arctic and subarctic Canada, Alaska
and Lappland, I have developed some ideas and some questions that may well
be of interest to a group of my botanical colleagues.
War II brought about the sudden accessibility of the arctic, and, as a result,
more botanists have visited arctic America in the last fifteen years than
in all previous history put together. The reasons for this increased accessibility
and the concomitant invasion of the arctic by botanists are several and diverse.
Among them are the development of easier and faster methods of transportation,
as bush planes on floats, wheels or skis and tracked vehicles such as weasels
and snomobiles instead of dog-sleds; the establishment of new bases for radar
sites, weather observations, oil exploration and other purposes that may be
used as research centers; the availability of research grants adequate for
arctic exploration as well as other types of field support; and not necessarily
least, the development of repellants effective against the hordes of unbelievably
voracious mosquitoes and other biting insects.
admiration for early botanists, geologists and other scientists in arctic
regions knows no bounds. The rigors of travel described by Linnaeus for his
1732 journey to arctic Lappland were no greater than those endured by botanists
in Greenland and in northern Canada and Alaska up to two centuries later,
assailed as they were by difficulties of travel, uncertainty of food supply
and plagues of insects. Dr. Wulff, a Swedish botanist, died in Greenland in
1917 of exposure and exhaustion.
thanks to the availability of excellent logistic sup-port and adequate transportation
facilities, the major danger level has been reduced to indigestion from eating
too much of one's own cooking. The dangers of falling from a cliff, crashing
in a bush plane, starvation—or even vitamin de-
of the points presented in this address were illustrated, emphasized and supplemented
by a series of Kodachrome slides made by the author but which, of course,
cannot be reproduced here. ficiency—or being charged by an enraged bear
or muskox are more than equally matched by the dangers of slipping in the
bathtub at home or being run over while crossing the street.
Europe has become especially available for scientific work. The railroad built
across Lappland in 1903 to carry the rich ores from the great iron mines at
Kiruna. at nearly 68° North Latitude, runs west to the Norwegian city
of Narvik and east to the Baltic port of Lulea, with most of its length north
of the Arctic Circle. Crossing the Arctic Circle while sitting in a comfortable
train seemed almost ridiculously easy to me, after five field seasons in arctic
Canada and Alaska. The contrast is exaggerated by the comfortable tourist
hotels one finds on the south shore of Lake Tornetr~sk and the ease with which
one may go from one station to another in interesting areas on trains that
run with the frequency of suburban commuters. On the North American continent
no highways or railroads cross the Arctic Circle, but many regularly scheduled
airline flights do, and one also may easily charter a flight to any area off
the regular airways where landing is possible. Tourist hotels of sorts are
available at Kotzebue, Barrow and elsewhere north of the Arctic Circle.
two physical characteristics of the American Arctic that most influence the
distribution and behavior of plants are the perennially frozen ground and
the long days during the growing season. The long winters and brief summers
in themselves produce an effect that differs only in degree from that found
in more temperate climates.
frozen ground, whether wet or dry, soil or rock, was termed "permafrost" by
Simeon Muller in 1943, in his extensive review of the extensive Russian studies
of frozen ground in Siberia. Although long accepted as a fact of life in northern
Canada and Alaska, permafrost became a critical factor to engineers engaged
in the construction of air-strips and military bases during World War II,
and its study has consequently progressed rapidly, with contributions to the
solution of geological and biological problems as well as engineering ones.
One botanist, William S. Brnninghoff, has become a leading expert on permafrost.
The term permafrost has been objected to on facetious grounds by some, and
seriously by others, although because it is simple and obvious it will continue
to be widely used. Professor Kirk Bryan has proposed to replace permafrost
on page 2)
PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
SYDNEY S. GREENFIELD, Editor
Rutgers—The State University
40 Rector Street, Newark 2, New Jersey
HARLAN P. BANKS Cornell University
NORMAN H. BOKE University of Oklahoma
ELSIE QUARTERMAN Vanderbilt University
ERICH STEINER University of Michigan
OCTOBER, 1960 • VOLUME 6,
OF ADDRESS: Notify the Treasurer of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.,
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PROBLEMS IN ARCTIC
from page t)
as the science of frozen ground, with a whole family of subordinate terms
such as "cryoplanation," "congeliturbation," "pergelation," "Congelifraction,"
etc., for specific situations. These terms appear more and more frequently
in technical papers.
its northernmost range, permafrost may be extremely thick. It has been reported
to extend 2000 feet downwards in Siberia and is well over i000 feet thick
in northernmost Alaska. At its southern boundary it becomes very thin and
discontinuous and eventually disappears. The origin of present-day permafrost
dates from the beginning or from some later phase of the Pleistocene Ice Age,
so that it may be as much as a million years old. Pleistocene-Age mammoths
frozen into the permafrost have been found so abundantly in Siberia that they
furnished for many years the largest single source of commercial ivory.
develops where and when the annual mean temperature is from very slightly
to very considerably be-low freezing. It is also influenced by plant cover
which may furnish insulation and thereby retard thawing, by serving as a differential
heat regulator. Conversely, the removal of the vegetation mat may upset the
thermal regime and hasten thawing.
must be discussed here because of its all-pervasive effects on the growth
of arctic plants and its many correlations with arctic vegetation.
The maximum depth of superficial thaw each year, the so-called active layer,
effectively limits or determines the plants that may grow there. If the active
layer is as thin or shallow as 3 inches it will support only sedges, grasses
and other fibrous rooted plants without tap roots. Mosses, of course, with
no roots, flourish in abundance. Pine is ruled out in permafrost areas because
of its deep tap root, whereas black spruce and larch do very well and extend
north of the Arctic Circle, where their limit is determined by climate and
not by permafrost.
provides a base impervious to drainage. Combined with the low evaporation
rate, water tends to accumulate in spite of the extremely low precipitation.
In flat areas, more than half the land surface may be covered with lakes
and ponds, and moderate slopes may become water-logged through moss cover
that obstructs drainage. One may be tempted to call this area the wettest
desert in the world.
permafrost surface beneath the active layer provides a lubricated base
for down-hill movements of water-logged soil so that even very gentle
slopes tend to be unstable and in motion, sometimes with a very disrupting
effect on the vegetation.
action in most arctic areas keeps soil, gravel and rock fragments in continual
local movement, even when not sliding gradually downhill. This boiling,
churning action, called congeliturbation, destroys the normal chronological
stratification that we expect to find in soils. The pressure of freezing
water causes the extrusion of materials from lower layers, much as milk
is extruded from a bottle when frozen. Soil mounds are produced thereby,
commonly a few feet high, but more rarely, under the influence of hydrostatic
pressure, the mound may become a small hill or "pingo" 20 feet or more
boiling and churning of the ground has a second effect—the particles
and materials of stony soils are sorted in circles or polygons on flat
ground and in "stripes" and rock-streams on mountain sides. The smaller
particles move inwards and the larger materials outwards. In wet soils
the polygons are separated by vertical ice-wedges that exert greater and
greater pressures on the enclosed soil as they grow in depth and thickness.
The development of polygons produces a strong and conspicuous effect on
the vegetation. The "patterned ground" produced by frost action is the
most conspicuous single feature of arctic areas.
a general way, permafrost has many other effects. If the superficial insulative
layer of vegetation is removed, the underlying permafrost will melt, as
engineers learned to their sorrow in early experience with air-strips
in Alaska. Where the vegetation had been bulldozed off and heat absorption
exaggerated by the construction of black asphalt runways, the surface
curved and buckled in waves. Relict ice blocks in the soil at the margin
of the permafrost area can be a nuisance or even a hazard to agriculture
when they melt, as has been seen at Fairbanks, where large caverns have
developed underground. Unfortunately, no plant indictator has been discovered
for deep-lying permafrost, although some quantitative effect may eventually
turn up with more intensive local study.
construction of buildings on permafrost brings many engineering problems.
Buildings even on pilings may transmit heat into the permafrost through the
pilings with a consequent gradual settling, as can be seen, for example, at
the post office in Nome. Inhabitants of houses with insufficiently insulated
floors may be surprised when suddenly the stove drops into a deep pool of
mud. I have seen
of settler's cabins in Siberia where down-ward melting reached an aquafer
or water stratum under pressure which then flooded the house and almost immediately
physiology of plants growing under permafrost conditions has not been well
investigated and is not well known in this country. Some work has been done
on plants growing and even flowering under snow, where temperatures may be
above freezing, and where little movement of air occurs. However, plants up
to the size of trees that grow with their roots almost upon permanently frozen
ground and their tops in air whose temperature is well above freezing would
seem to be in a state of perpetual crisis. The late Professor George Peirce
of Stanford University once told me, with his usual humor, that it was obviously
quite impossible for plants to do this. Since plants do, however, how they
do it certainly needs careful study. Whether the physical chemistry of the
roots and root-hairs of arctic plants differs in some way or to some degree
from that of plants in temperate climates still remains to be determined.
The limitation of all the subterranean activities of plants to the several
inches of soil that thaws for a few weeks in the summer presents a situation
far different from the one most of us consider to be normal, especially in
the deep soils of the prairie states.
days during the growing season especially characterize the arctic—in
fact, the Arctic Circle is demarcated by that latitude at which the sun does
not set on one night of each year. The higher the latitude, the more "nights"
of sunshine, and even though the sun may set in subarctic areas, the nights
are nevertheless light enough to support the growth of plants. The continuous
light is the phenomenon first noted by the new visitor to arctic areas and
is the condition most difficult to imagine until experienced. When one wakes
up at i :3o in the morning with the sun shining in his eyes, it is difficult
to convince his physiological control system that day has not arrived and
to relax and go back to sleep. The occupational hazard experienced by vigorous
people in the arctic is insufficient sleep and overwork. Like people, plants
certainly must respond differently in nature to continous light than they
do to the diurnal light rhythms of lower latitudes; yet little experimental
work has been done in the arctic with the plants that grow there. Obviously,
on the pragmatic evidence that arctic plants produce flowers and seeds, they
are long-day plants—or else "day neutral." Short-day plants that may
have existed under earlier and more temperature climates at the same latitudes
have undoubtedly disappeared through inability to reproduce. The high incidence
of apomixis, bulbil-formation and other devices for vegetative propagation
may reflect some adaptation to continuous light, and the long-day requirements
imposed thereby. The very common comparison of plants of high altitudes with
those of high latitudes, and the lumping of both categories as arctic-alpine
plants, tends to underemphasize or to conceal the great difference in day-length
conditions which in turn must be reflected by real differences in the physiology
of the plants themselves.
as the Arctic Circle is circumscribed by that latitude at which the sun does
not go below the horizon one night each year, so it also coincides with the
latitude at which the sun does not rise above the horizon one day of the year.
At higher latitudes many days have only twilight, and many others are short,
indeed, exactly compensating in length for the opposite seasons. I should
mention here the too-common misconception that the arctic is the land of "six
months of light and six months of darkness." I have heard serious botanists
invoke Wegener's hypothesis of the wandering of the earth's poles, not because
of the good reasons given by Wegener, but because they cannot honestly believe
that the luxuriant forests, represented now only by abundant fossils, that
once reached the farthest northern lands, could have developed under six months
of darkness. The presence of coal and abundant plant fossils in Antarctica
raises the same question in a more aggravated form. Actually, of course, the
darkness, twilight and very short intervals of light would come during the
dormant winter period when photosynthesis is suspended because of low temperatures.
The present limit of trees northward on the various continents is determined
by temperature and perhaps by other climatic factors, not by the shortness
of day in winter. Forests of one type or another extend well north of the
Arctic Circle in Scandinavia, in Siberia and in North America. Both black
spruce (Picea mariana) and larch (Larix laricina) reach the Arctic Ocean at
the mouth of the Mackenzie River in northern Canada, but the tree-line abruptly
retreats southward toward Hudson Bay and the Ungava Peninsula, paralleling
very neatly the depressed isotherms of the midcontinent. In short, one does
not have to invoke the wandering of the earth's poles, whether they wandered
or not, to explain the presence of forests in polar areas in earlier geological
eras, but only a somewhat warmer and more uniform climate.
this background, I am sure that every botanist, regardless of his field, can
see some problem related to his own interests, but transposed into a different
context of environmental conditions. Even if time and space permitted, it
would be impossible to discuss or even to list all the important and exciting
botanical investigations called for in arctic regions. I shall therefore mention
a few general problems, only as illustrative examples, to point up the different
dimensions and different parameters of botanical research in the arctic.
we are well acquainted with the reduced activity of microorganisms at lowered
temperatures in the laboratory—and in the home refrigerator—we
rarely see its effects in nature. At Barrow and in other arctic seaside villages,
the Eskimos abandon everywhere the unused re-mains of seals, walrus, whales,
etc. that they have killed during the spring, adding much thereby to the picturesqueness
of their habitat. However, instead of the galloping and richly odoriferous
putrefaction inevitable in a warmer climate, decomposition takes place slowly
under the low temperature, producing only a somewhat rancid but not wholly
repulsive odor to which one's nose eventually adjusts. Beyond this, much remains
to be known about the
of the soil, the water and the air in arctic regions, with especial reference
to their metabolic activities.
fungi of arctic America have received very little attention from professional
mycologists. Dr. Douglas Savile is one of the few mycologists who has worked
in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Since agriculture is relatively unimportant
in arctic regions, no economic incentive has precipitated a comprehensive
survey of even the parasitic fungi.
marine algae are less conspicuous in artic seas than in even slightly more
southerly waters, not because of temperature, but because of the scouring
and grinding effect of floe ice on the shores. Although marine algae do occur
at some depth and are washed up on the beaches after storms during the ice-free
season, no intensive study of them has been made. The growth and productivity
of marine plankton of the arctic ocean needs study urgently and such investigations
would be well supported by several agencies. Fresh-water algae are abundant
and occasionally form conspicuous "blooms" in tundra lakes and ponds. Dr.
G. W. Prescott and his students have emphasized research on the fresh water
algae of arctic Alaska and on the dynamics of their ecology, but most northern
areas have received little organized study by phycologists.
bryophytes, because they form a rather conspicuous part of the terrestrial
vegetation, have received serious attention through field studies in arctic
America. Although the basic systematic inventory is reasonably complete, continuing
problems of significance lie in the areas of ecology. geographical distribution,
cytology and physiology of bryophytes, as well as their relation to permafrost.
earliest times the flowering plants have traditionally received more attention
than other groups of plants, and nearly Soo species have been found on the
arctic slope of Alaska, alone. The critical studies by Wiggins, Porsild and
Hulten on geographical distribution and by Love on chromosome numbers have
produced interesting and useful results. Love has brought forth much evidence
to support the hypothesis proposed by Hagerup, that arctic plants show a greater
degree of polyploidy and therefore possess a greater gene pool or genetic
resource with which to resist the unfavorable environment. Cytological research
on the growth of roots very close to permafrost and of meiosis in flowers
subjected to daily temperatures below the freezing point should yield results
of great interest.
implied throughout, the very physical conditions that make the arctic region
what it is lead inevitably to ecological problems that need solutions. An
excellent analysis of the vegetation dynamics in Alaska has been made by Dr.
Max Britton, and we await with impatience the publication of the results of
his sophisticated and cleverly instrumented studies of microenvironments at
Point Barrow. The results of these ecological researches will be extremely
useful to workers in every other biological field.
genetic and biosystematic studies in such large and enormously complicated
arctic groups as willows and loco weeds, among others, some sort of botanical
garden must eventually be established in northern Canada or Alaska—or
both. Genetical studies of species related to horticultural varieties will
certainly turn up genes for hardiness and resistance as well as other desirable
characteristics for use in plant-breeding programs. The genetics of fertility
and sterility in arctic plants likewise need study because of the many alternative
means of vegetatives reproduction that they display.
paleobotanical work in Alaska began early, this is still a highly promising
field because of the abundance of fossils and the existence of forests in
previous geological eras where only tundra now occurs. Microfossils, especially
spores and pollen grains, have not received the attention in arctic areas
that they deserve, except for the private, probably never-to-be published
works of oil companies, who use their data for the purpose of correlating
geological horizons in exploration for oil, which, incidentally, is surprisingly
abundant in arctic Alaska. The use of Carbon-14 techniques and other modern
dating methods in the arctic will give data extremely helpful for understanding
the dimension of time during which the present types of vegetation have developed,
as well as the cyclic changes in past climates.
the moment, the most experimental and highly instrumented kinds of investigation
of the behavior of plants under arctic conditions may have to be carried out
in the well-equipped laboratories of more temperate regions. How-ever, where
natural conditions cannot be duplicated or even imitated, such experiments
will eventually have to be made in the arctic, as laboratory facilities become
Arctic Research Laboratory at Point Barrow, the northernmost part of the United
States, offers many opportunities for research in arctic Alaska, in any appropriate
field of science. Operating through the University of Alaska, the Geography
Branch of the Office of Naval Re-search has for several years provided funds
for the support of the Arctic Research Laboratory. Scientists who have re-search
funds available to them from the Office of Naval Research, the National Science
Foundation, tht Arctic Institute of North America or from other responsible
agencies, and whose research falls within the scope of interest and activity
of the Arctic Research Laboratory, may apply to ONR for the privilege of working
there. If space and other facilities permit his residence at the Laboratory.
the scientist is provided with full logistic support, which means that he
is furnished with food, lodging, heavy clothing, and placed in the field where
his plans require or else given laboratory space and equipment for his work
in one of the 17 laboratories. Any qualified botanist who is seriously interested
in taking advantage of the many facilities of the Arctic Research Laboratory
in order to implement original investigations on arctic problems, and who
has developed well thought out research plans, would be well advised to discuss
them informally with Dr. Max Britton of the Geography Branch of the Office
of Naval Research before making a final application. At the moment, facilities
are available and much scientific work is going on near Cape Thompson, between
Kotzebue and Point Hope. Here the Atomic Energy Commission has established
for extensive environmental studies before some pro-posed underground experimental
explosions of atomic materials are detonated, in a year or two. Dr. John Wolfe,
of AEC, another botanist, is in charge of these environmental studies. Other
facilities for research in arctic Alaska may occasionally be found in the
various Distant Early Warning or DEW Line sites along the arctic coast of
Alaska and Canada, as well as in other quasi-military establishments. With
a research grant adequate for chartering the service of a bush plane, a properly
equipped investigator can reach nearly any area of arctic Alaska in which
he wishes to work, quite independently of the agencies or bases just mentioned.
However, in my opinion, one is well advised to work through the Arctic Research
Laboratory or the Arctic Institute of North America, or both, because of the
facilities and logistic services that these organizations can give, as well
as their experience in cutting red tape.
Canada, the Defense Research Northern Laboratory at Churchill, on the west
coast of Hudson Bay, offers excellent facilities to investigators with research
problems appropriate to the geographical locale, at the tension zone between
the forest and the tundra. Although the latitude is only subarctic, the depressed
isotherms of the midcontinent produce an arctic climate which is turn controls
the limit of trees. Occasional highly qualified workers have been accommodated
in weather stations and other establishments on the various islands of the
Canadian Arctic Archipelago, even as far north as Alert, on Ellesmere Island,
at a latitude of 82°. Again, with adequate funds for transportation,
sufficient equipment, and the highly essential approval of the proper authorities,
a serious worker can place himself in any geographical spot whose circumstances
are most appropriate to the requirements of his work. For independent research
of this sort, arrangements must be made well in advance.
may be appropriate to note here that the University of Copenhagen's Biological
Laboratory on Disko Island, on the west coast of Greenland, is probably the
oldest arctic scientific station in existence. Admission to the Laboratory
and permission to work anywhere in Greenland is given by a central commission
on arctic research, at the University of Copenhagen. Moreover, workers must
be able to qualify for a Danish visa and for official permission to visit
Green-land. Occasional researchers with special needs have received permission
to center their investigations at U. S. installations, at Sondrestrf smfjord,
at Thule, and at other bases in Greenland. Plans for such work require prolonged
negotiations, far in advance of the actual field season, be-cause of the dual
responsibiilties for obtaining clearance by both the Danish Government and
the U. S. Military establishment.
am obliged to add somewhat parenthetically that the Russians have far more
arctic scientific research and experimental bases and stations than America
does, scattered through the vast reaches of the Siberian arctic and the arctic
islands north of the Eurasian continent. Whether scientists from outstide
the iron curtain are welcome or even tolerated in these laboratories, I do
not know. My only advice to anyone who is resourceful enough to arrange an
invitation to work in one of the arctic research stations in the USSR is that
he insist on a round-trip ticket.
summary, then, in arctic regions every field of botany, every plant science-and
every science-presents innumerable problems that demand investigation. These
problems are challenging and timely and many are now of real importance to
our national welfare. Moreover, because of the novel environmental conditions
and the relatively small amount of previous work, investigations of arctic
problems are very apt to be unusually rewarding and productive. As I look
back over the thoughts just expressed, I realize that the title of this talk
might well have been "Botanical Opportunities in Arctice America."
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descriptive text of all vascular plants known to occur with-
the region covered. Iowa State Univ. Press, Ames.
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L. C. 1958. Seed germination in arctic and alpine species. Arctic 1
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Colloquium, Oregon State College.
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& Doris Love. 1957. Arctic polyploidy. Proc. Genetics Soc.
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for the future development of the American
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Botanical Society of America, Inc.
OF THE BUSINESS MEETING
OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY, STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA
I—August 29, 1960
meeting was called to order by President Thimann at 1:20 p.m. in the West
Room, Library Building. Approximately 70 members were present, constituting
a quorum. Since the minutes of the 1959 Business Meeting had been published
in Plant Science Bulletin, these were not read.
instructed by the Council, the Secretary presented the names of those on
the second nominating ballot who stood in the top three places as a result
of the balloting in which more than 1400 votes had been received. These
names, listed in order, highest in each category, were as follows
motion was made, seconded, and carried unanimously that the candidates with
the highest number of votes in each category be elected. The new officers
for 1961, there-fore, are:
V. I. Cheadle
President: R. C. Rollins
Committee Member: J. Torrey
Thimann announced that the Council, under the provisions of the By-laws,
had decided to meet with the A.I.B.S. for the years 1961 (at Purdue University)
and 1962 (at Oregon State University).
was announced that various reports from the Society's Sections and Committees
had been received and approved by the Council.
reports of special significance were discussed in more detail. Dr. Wetmore
presented the general plan of a committee to be set up for the purpose
of ascertaining the need of a general botanical organization. Preliminary
reactions to such a federation from the various plant science societies
was definitely positive and if National Science Foundation funds develop,
then a study committee, composed of members from the various plant science
societies and under the chairmanship of a Botanical Society representative,
will report its findings and recommendations to the various organizations
concerned at the meetings in 1961 at Purdue University.
Little questioned the need of such a federation, pointing out that this type
of organization was supposed to have been affected by affiliation with the
A.I.B.S. Dr. Wetmore re-emphasized that the committee was only to study the
need and desirability rather than offer a resolution.
G. S. Avery commented on the possibility of getting support for more awards
for various achievements in the field of botany. These would be awarded
preferably at the annual meetings, as are the Darbaker and Meritorious
Awards. It was pointed out that the chemical societies as well as others
present far more awards than do botanical societies. Dr. Avery felt that
botany might profit from the interest generated by such awards both in
professional groups and the general public. In particular, he suggested
that an Interpretative Award be presented to the person or persons presenting
the best article to the lay public from a science interpretive viewpoint.
Steere suggested that Dr. Avery, in view of his interests, be selected as
chairman of an Awards Committee to explore ways and means. A Committee will
presumably be set up with Dr. Avery as Chairman. It was announced that suggestions
from the membership would be welcomed.
Bold reported that the National Science Foundation had approved a proposal
submitted by the Society to issue a revised edition of the Career Bulletin.
The new edition should be ready for distribution by January 1, 1961.
Secretary reported that the Council approved, as empowered by the By-Laws,
the publication of a new membership list (Yearbook) for the years 1960-1962.
Information cards for this purpose will be distributed during the fall
President reported that the Council had decided to publish abstracts of
the various papers to be presented at the Purdue meetings, and that these
would be published in the July issue of the American Journal of Botany
with supplemental pagination. The abstracts should appear be-fore the
The Treasurer raised the question of dues for Life Members and Patrons. These
stood at $100 and $250 respectively, according to the By-Laws. A motion was
made, seconded, and carried unanimously for the Secretary to poll the membership
for changes as provided under the By-Laws. Dues for Life Members would be
increased from $ioo to $200 and those of Patrons from $250 to $500.
Kavaljian, Secretary of the Developmental Section, reported that an organizational
luncheon meeting of that group had been held and that the first elected
officers were: Chairman—W. A. Jensen; Vice Chairman—I. K.
Ross; Secretary—L. G. Kavaljian; Member of the Editorial Board,
A. J. B.:—R. M. Klein.
Flora M. Scott made inquiry as to the desirability of having the reviewers
for the American journal of Botany remain anonymous. After some discussion
it was suggested that the Editor add a marginal note to his standard form
letter to the effect that a reviewer need not remain anonymous unless
he so desires, and further, to counsel the reviewer to avoid violent expressions
if at all possible.
meeting was adjourned at 1:5o p.m.
II—August 30, 1960
meeting was called to order by President Thi-
at 1:00 p.m.
interim reports and proposed budgets of both the Treasurer and the Business
Manager were approved by the members present (representing a quorum).
A. C. Smith suggested that future budgets carry an item or items showing
interest received from N.S.F. grants, etc. The Treasurer was so instructed.
meeting stood adjourned at 1:25 p.m.
submitted, 13. L. TURNER. Secretary
of Certificates of Merit for outstanding contributions to American Botany
were announced at the annual banquet of the Botanical Society of America on
August 31. 196o. The recipients and the citations enscribed on their respective
P. BENNETT, distinguished investigator of dormancy and growth; helpful, wise,
and understanding counsellor; and godfather to succeeding generations of students
in plant physiology who have carried his influence to every corner of the
DWIGHT BILLINGS, for his fruitful and stimulating studies of the physiological
behavior of plant species and ecotypes in nature. His investigations have
covered the continent from east to west, giving us new insight into the ecology
of deserts, forests, and meadows. He and his colleagues have created one of
the world's leading ecological centers.
CONRAD MUENSCHER, a truly versatile botanist, for his many distinguished contributions,
especially his books on weeds, aquatic plants, poisonous plants and garden
herbs. His lifelong devotion to all phases of botany has stimulated the lives
and the careers of his numerous students.
B. RAPER, for his pioneering and continuing studies on the slime molds and
for his distinguished contributions to the morphology and classification of
Aspergillus and Penicillium.
CLARK ROLLINS, a leading exponent of an up-to-date plant taxonomy that embraces
morphology, ecology, cytology, and genetics, in well balanced emphasis. He
has brought new lustre to an already distinguished institution.
R. Kruckeberg, Department of Botany, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
is seeking seed or living plants of Silene, Lychnis and Melandrium from North
America, especially from Alaska, Canada, Mexico, the Rocky Mounatins, and
certain species from eastern United States (S. nivea, S. ovata, and S. rotundifolia).
Professor Kruckeberg would be happy to collect plants of the Pacific Northwest
the annual banquet a resolution was offered by President Thimann expressing
the gratitude and congratulations of the Society to the Oklahoma State University
officials for the excellent manner in which they arranged and carried out
the complexities of the meetings. In particular, the Society expressed its
gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Walter W. Hansen, local committeeman, for
his activities in making the Botanical Society meetings so successful.
CANADIAN SOCIETY OF PLANT PHYSIOLOGISTS met in the University of Toroto on
June 2nd and 3rd, 196o. The proceedings included six sessions of contributed
papers and the G. H. Duff Memorial Symposium on Developmental Physiology under
the chairmanship of Dr. G. Krotkov. Participants in the symposium were Dr.
E. T. Winning, University of Tiibingen; Dr. F. C. Steward, Cornell University;
and Dr. G. Setterfield, National Re-search Council of Canada. The Society
has established a category of corresponding members available to plant physiologists
outside Canada. Address inquiries to the Secretary-Treasurer, Dr. Dorothy
F. Forward, Department of Botany, University of Toronto, Toronto 5, Canada.
the annual meeting of the Northeastern Section of the Botanical Society of
America, June 19-22, 1960, the following officers were elected: Chairman:
Dr. Norman J. Gillette, Syracuse University; Vice-Chairman: Miss Mathilde
Weingartner, Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences; Secretary-Treasurer:
Dr. William A. Niering, Connecticut College. The next meeting of the section
will be held at Syracuse in 1961.
E. Cox, Professor of Plant Pathology, University of Maryland, on June 24,
M. Johnston, Associate Professor of Botany at Harvard University, on May 31,
1960, in his sixty-third year. He had been a member of the staff of the Arnold
Arboretum since 1931 and was known for his monographic work on the Boraginaceae
and his floristic work in the deserts of the United States, Mexico and South
America. A biographical report of his life and professional career and his
bibliography will be published in the Journal of the Arnold Arboretum for
K. Just, Chief Curator of the Department of Botany of the Chicago Natural
History Museum, on June 14, 1960, in his fifty-sixth year. He joined the staff
of the Museum in 1946 after having taught at the University of Notre Dame,
and became Chief Curator in 1947.
E. Svedelius, Emeritus Professor of Botany at the University of Uppsala, Sweden,
on August 2, 196o. He was 87 years old. With the death of Nils E. Svedelius,
Swedish botany lost one of its great names. His work over more than six decades
was mainly on marine algae, and he was also very active in teaching and in
many scientific societies. In the years 1935-1950 he was President of the
Botanical Section of the International Biological Union.
Committee on Translations of the Botanical Society of America
Society was asked by the representative of the Committee on Translations of
AIBS to give its opinion on the desirabiilty of translating certain botanical
monographs from Russian. The AIBS indicated that it was prepared to finance
a limited number of such translations. In order to be able to give a really
responsible reply, and because other similar requests could well be expected
in the future, the President of the Society, Dr. K. V. Thimann, appointed
a Committee to consider the whole problem of Translations. In selecting the
members of the Committee Dr. Thimann wrote: "This project raises the problem
of the selection of foreign botanical literature for translation in general.
The Society needs an active, intelligent and well distributed group of botanists
to give opinions on these matters, to keep an eye open for suitable material
in foreign languages whose translations would be worth financing, and generally
to develop the whole field of botanical translation. With the increasing contribution
to science in Russia and China, and the output from Japan, I foresee that
the matter will become of steadily growing importance."
members of the Committee were selected to represent: (a) knowledge of botany,
(b) judgment, (c) interest in the literature, especially foreign, and (d)
representation of different fields. In addition, at least two of the members
read the Russian language fluently. They are:
K. Akamine, Horticulture, knowledge of oriental litera-
Agric. Exper. Station, University of Hawaii, Hono-
J. Alexopoulos, Mycology, Dept. of Botany, State. U. of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.
Esau, Anatomy, Russian language, Dept. of Botany, U. of California, Davis,
Levitt, Physiology, Dept. of Botany, U. of Missouri. Columbia, Mo.
J. Oosting, Ecology, Dept. of Botany, Duke University, Durham, N. C.
C. Rollins, Systematics, Gray Herbarium, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
C. Starr, Physology, Dept. of Botany. U. of Indiana, Bloomington, Ind.
Ledyard Stebbins, Genetics, U. of California, Davis, Calif.
P. Sorokin, (Chairman), Cytology, Russian language, 8 Cliff Street, Winchester,
AIBS Committee on Translations has announced a reappraisal of its policy of
translating whole journals and the possible creation of a series of new journals
entitled Selected Soviet Articles in the Specific Field of Biology (see May
issue, Newsletter of AIRS, In Brief . . . In Biology . . .). In this connection,
individual biologists and member societies are to be requested to present
their proposals for translations. Such a policy will make it more than ever
necessary for individual plant scientists to be in- formed on what foreign
publications it is desirable to have translated.
Committee therefore asks all botanists to send recommendations for translations
to the member of this Committee who is in their own field of specialization,
or, if they have Russian books and wish them to be appraised, please send
them to the members reading Russian (the books will be duly returned). In
this project the Commit-tee will concentrate on monographs and reviews and
will stress pure plant science rather than Agriculture and Agronomy.
realizing the difficulty in selecting limited material for translation which
would comply with the requests of American readers, and at the same time represent
adequately the Russian botanical literature, we have written person-al letters
to a number of leading Soviet scholars asking them to give limited lists of
the most outstanding contributions to their own field of specialization by
Soviet botanists in the last to years, thus covering ecology (geobotanv) anatomy
and morphology, cytology, and physiology. We have received a most enthusiastic
response and have already compiled a list in ecology. This list will be compared
with the works most frequently requested by American ecologists and thus the
few books most appropriate for translation will be selected. It is planned
to survey other fields in the same way.
P. Sorokin, Chairman, Botanical Society of America, Committee on Translations.
excellent publications of the Botanical Society of America are still available
and will be sent to members for the cost of mailing. These arc Bulletin 11q:
"An Exploratory Study of the Teaching of Botany in the Colleges and Universities
of the United States," 1938; and Bulletin 120: "Achievement Tests in Relation
to Teaching Objectives in General College Botany," 1939. Both were prepared
by the Committee on the Teaching of Botany in American Colleges and Universities.
They will be especially interesting and useful to the newer members of the
Society who do not own copies. To obtain either one, send 15 cents in coins
,or to obtain both, send 25 cents in coin to Dr. Hiram F. Thut, Botany Department,
Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois.
Darbaker Award for 196o was presented to Dr. Janet R. Stein for her meritorious
work in the study of algae. The presentation was made at the annual banquet
of the Society.