News from the Society, the Sections and the Committees

Reports from the Committees

Developmental and Structural Section

This year has been a quiet one in the Developmental and Structural Section of BSA, as the new Chair, Jean Gerrath, learned what was expected of the person in the position. The fact that 1999 is not a normal BSA meeting also meant that there was less activity than normal.

We have created a new Listserv, so that all section members for which we have correct e-mail addresses can be quickly contacted.

We will not hold a Section annual meeting this year, nor will the judging for the Esau Award be carried out. It was decided that we would use our allotment to cover the cost of student registrants at the Congress. Six students applied for help, and all were funded.

Only 1 Symposium suggestion for the Portland Meeting from our section that made the July 1 deadline. It was submitted by Bruce Kirchoff, and is a suggestion for a different symposium format, in which informality and discussion play the major role. The title of his submission is "Open Space". Apparently it works like this. A committee plans a theme. It is organized on site by a previously chosen facilitator who is appropriate to the theme. The theme is advertised, and people come on the day with topics that relate to the theme. Those who provide topics become the conveners, and their sessions may be lectures, discussions, or open floor exchange of ideas. The executive committee is interested encouraging Bruce to try something new that would provide a forum for the exchange of ideas much as happens during the coffee breaks. Like all experiments, it will require thought, planning, and good luck.

Next year will be a more normal one for our section, with the more typical complement of activities.

Jean Gerrath, Chair

Ecological Section

The Ecological Section is sponsoring four symposia at the 1999 International Botanical Congress: "Archeopteris, the world’s first forest tree: biology, ecology and systematics of a late Devonian progymnosperm" co-chaired by Steve Scheckler (Virginia Polytechnic) and B. Meyer-Berthaud; "Developmental phenology and its influence on plant ecology" co-chaired by Maxine Watson (Indiana University) and Heidi Huber (University of Utrecht, The Netherlands); "Rooting strategies and belowground competition" co-chaired by Brenda Casper (University of Pennsylvania) and Hans de Kroon (University of Wageningen, The Netherlands); "Ecology and Evolution of specialized seed dispersal, dormancy and germination strategies" co-chaired by Carol Baskin (University of Kentucky) and Nancy Garwood (Natural History Museum, United Kingdom). At the Section meeting held in August 1998, it was decided that support would be provided in the form of a $300 grant to each foreign speaker participating in these four symposia.

Carolyn Keiffer (Miami University) organized the competition for best student poster and best student paper at the 1998 meetings. Jochen Schenk,(University of California, Santa Barbara) was awarded first prize for best Oral Presentation for his paper entitled "Directional and spatial patterns in a desert plant community." Bruce Robart, (Illinois State University) won first prize for his poster, entitled " Double function pollination as a transitional stage in the evolution of the beaked floral form among taxonomic varieties of Pedicularis bractaeosa". Their awards and checks, for $150, will be presented in St. Louis at the BSA Social on Thursday, August 5, 1999.

—Maxine A. Watson, Chair

Economic Botany Section

1) For the 1999 BSA Meeting at the XVI International Botanical Congress in St Louis we have organized a symposium entitled: "Anthropogenic Plant Migrations: Habitat Transformations by Overt and Inadvertent Introductions" scheduled for Friday, August 6th.

Organizers: David Lentz, Chairperson of EBS/BSA, New York Botanical Garden, C. Edelmira Linares, and Robert Bye, Jardin Botanico del Instituto de Biologia UNAM

Invited speakers for the symposium include:

The Symposium is sponsored jointly by the Economic Botany Section of BSA and the Society for Economic Botany.

2) The Economic Botany Section has decided again to present a $100 award for the best student paper/poster presented for excellence in execution of research and presentation and interpretation of results.

Treasurer's report:

As of March 1999 (per Cash and Section Accounts Report) the Economic Botany Section had $620. Of this balance expected expenditures for this year include:

$100 to be awarded to one student (paper or poster) presented at the International Botanical Congress best fitting the objectives of the Economic Botany Section.

—Daniel Harder, Secretary-Treasurer

Mycological Section

The Mycological Section of the BSA did not support any activities at the International Botanical Congress in St. Louis.

Attendance levels and abstract submissions for Mycological Section sessions in recent years have been disappointing. This appears to be due to several factors, including indifference on the part of BSA and MSA members toward the activities of the Mycological Section, lack of coordination between the BSA and MSA regarding abstract submissions, and the fact that in 1996 and 1998 the meetings of the BSA and MSA meeting were held separately.

Because of the low level of activity in the Mycological Section of the BSA, we decided that future Mycological Section activities should be limited to symposia cosponsored by the MSA, presented at joint meetings of the BSA and MSA. It is hoped that the Mycological Section will be able to find other ways to serve as a conduit between the BSA and MSA, outside of the annual meeting.

—David S. Hibbett, Chair

Paleobotanical Section

The Paleobotanical Section currently has 351 members (278 regular members, 14 emeritus regular members, 38 affiliate members, 4 emeritus affiliate members, and 17 honorary members). This represents an increase of 8 members since last year.

This year the Section provided support for five symposia at the International Botanical Congress, and awarded registration waivers and banquet tickets for 16 students attending the International Botanical Congress. Members of the Paleobotanical Section submitted approximately 115 abstracts for the International Botanical Congress, including symposium and poster presentations. The section has organized a paleobotanical dinner scheduled for Tuesday August 3, for which 118 persons have registered. The annual business meeting is scheduled for 7:45 AM, Thursday August 5th.

In November 1998, the Paleobotanical Section became a member society of the American Geological Institute, an affiliation that reflects the cross-disciplinary interests of many of our members. During the past year the Paleobotanical Section has been raising money for its various endowment funds, with continued emphasis on the Winfried Remy and Renata Remy Fund. This fund was established in 1997 and will endow the Remy and Remy Award, for the best published paper in Paleobotany or Palynology during the foregoing year.

The Bibliography of American Paleobotany for 1998 was mailed to members and to 39 institutional subscribers in May 1999. Copies will be provided for the BSA Archives and for the editor of the Plant Science Bulletin. Others may purchase copies for $18 each.

The Section continues to maintain a Paleobotany News List (PALEOBOT) on the internet and a homepage on the World Wide Web. To subscribe to the list, interested persons should send an e-mail message to < containing the following message:

subscribe PALEOBOT your name

The WWW homepage can be visited at or via the BSA homepage.

—Steven R. Manchester, Secretary-Treasurer

Phycological Section 1999

The Phycological section of BSA partially supported two symposia at the International Botanical Congress in St. Louis. Annette Coleman and David Kirk, organizers of the symposium "Volvocales, gateway to physiological and evolutionary analysis of development", received sectional funding to supplement the support obtained from the International Botanical Congress.

The symposium included the following papers:

A second symposium, entitled "Convergent evolution and the systematics of coccoid green algae", was also partially supported by the section. This symposium was organized by Eberhard Hegewald and Louise Lewis, and included the following invited papers:

—Louise A. Lewis, Chair

Physiological Section

The 1998 meeting was well attended and the section managed a full paper and poster session at the Baltimore meeting. In addition, a symposium was supported on American Beachgrass. The business meeting was attended by about 10 people and plans were put forth to support student attendance at the IBC and to prepare for our next full meeting in Portland in 2000. Since the 1999 meeting is being held under the auspices of the IBC, the section planned to meet again in a luncheon format in Portland.

Pete Straub, Chair

Pteridological Section

I. Activities of Section at 1998 AIBS Meeting

II. Support for the Annual Review of Pteridological Research

III. Planned activities for the XVI International Botanical Congress in St. Louis, MO, August 1999.

—Tom A. Ranker, Secretary/Treasurer

Teaching Section

In partial response to the society’s call to action in Botany for the Next Millennium to "promote effective botanical education of K-12", the Education Committee and the Teaching Section sponsored an educational booth at the national conference of NSTA (National Science Teachers Association), sponsored a workshop for teachers at NABT (National Association of Biology Teachers) and joined other plant biology societies in a symposium on botanical literacy organized by CELS (Coalition for Education in the Life Sciences). All these activities had a significant impact and placed BSA in the forefront of the efforts to promote greater awareness of the fundamental importance of plants to society and scientific advancement.

CELS Workshop "Toward Literacy in Plant Biology" July 2, 1998 Madison, WI

NABT Workshop "Leave it to the Plants" presented at annual meeting NABT, Nov 4-7, 1998, Reno, NV.

NSTA Booth, annual meeting of NSTA, Mar 24-28, 1999, Boston, MA.

Recommendations for next year:

  1. BSA should continue to budget funds for educational outreach. Our impact is worth the investment. The K-12 educators greatly appreciate BSA’s efforts and want more.
  2. I think BSA should continue to provide an exhibit at NSTA in coordination with other plant-related societies. For the money invested, this is the most effective way to reach the greatest number of motivated teachers at one time. It lets K-12 teachers know BSA really does value education as stated in Botany in the Next Millennium. The representatives from ASPP and APS also recognized the significance of reaching the teachers and have recommended to their societies to sponsor booths again next year. We are in the process of encouraging additional plant-related societies to join us and increase the success of a row of plant-related booths called "The Plant Place."
  3. Next year’s booth should profile the digitized slide collection since we have invested so much time and effort into the transfer from slides to CD.
  4. The next national convention of NSTA in Orlando, FL on April 6-9, 2000. Deadline for booth reservation is
  5. Teachers have requested more workshops on specific lessons using plants. These workshops allow more time to explain and illustrate botanical lessons. NABT and NSTA conventions provide opportunities for such workshops, but regional meetings or summer programs should also be considered. NABT has accepted our proposal (Ethel Stanley and Rob Reinsvold as presenters) for a workshop at next year’s meeting.
  6. To increase the impact, we need more BSA members involved. To staff the booth at NSTA, 3-4 people could be kept busy the entire time. To allow for opportunities for the booth staffers to make other connections at the convention and have breaks, at least 6 people are needed.
  7. The Education Committee should compile a set of tested learning activities for various levels. These should be presented in both hard copy for distribution and available on the website.
  8. BSA should continue to endorse the efforts of all those promoting the use of plants to learn biology.

—Rob Reinsvold, Chair

Mid-Continent Section

1999 General and Business meetings. The Mid-Continent Section met with the annual meeting of the Southwest Association of Naturalists (SWAN) at the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon; Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico in April. Because of the sparse attendance by BSA members, there were no sponsored symposia, no business meeting, and no awards for student presentations held at the meeting. Consequently, no funds were spent from the BSA alltoment during FY 1999. Elections and new and old items of business were discussed by e-mail among the officers and members of the section. An active program at the SWAN meeting in April 2000 is anticipated.

Nominations and Elections. The terms of two officers expired during 1999, the chair (Wayne Elisens, Oklahoma University) and the vice-chair (Randy Allen, Texas Tech University). Several nominations for these positions were received. We are happy to announce that, starting in August 1999 for three year terms, Dr. Rob Wallace (Iowa State University) will serve as chair and Dr. Craig Freeman (Kansas University and Natural Heritage Inventory) will serve as vice-chair.

Officers of the MidContinent Section 1999-2000

—Wayne J. Elisens, Chair

Southeastern Section

The annual business meeting of SE-BSA was conducted during the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists, hosted by the University of North Carolina – Wilmington, from April 14-17, 1999. John Herr, a former SE-BSA Activities Committee Chair, presided in the absence of Kathy Hornberger.

Elections were held for Secretary-Treasurer and Chair of the Activities Committee. The individuals elected were Larry J. Davenport from Samford University in Birmingham, AL and Frank D. Watson, from St. Andrews College in Laurinburg, NC, respectively.

A teaching workshop entitled "Transgenic plants: Using green fluorescent protein and insecticidal genes in ecology and population biology" was presented by Dr. C. Neal Stewart and several graduate students from UNC – Greensboro.

An announcement was made that there were several hundred dollars available for graduate students travelling to IBC this summer in St. Louis, MO.

SE-BSA was one of seven professional biological organizations represented at this meeting, with 285 papers and posters listed in the program; over 50% were botanical in scope or closely allied.

Kathy Hornberger, Chair

Northeastern Section

The 1999 joint field meeting of the Northeastern Section of the Botanical Society of America, the Torrey Botanical Society, and the Philadelphia Botanical Club was housed at Manchester College in North Manchester, Indiana, June 20-24, 1999. There were three days of field trips, all of which visited sites in Indiana. The first site was the Tefft Savanna State Nature Preserve, located in the Kankakee sand plain region of northwestern Indiana. Habitats seen here were oak savanna, sand prairie, and wetlands. Atlantic Coastal Plain species represented an unexpected floristic element in this area. Spinn Prairie, a Nature Conservancy project, gave participants a look at a mesic prairie-savanna mosaic. A brief stop was made at Berns-Meyers Woods, also a Nature Conservancy site, a small fragment of old-growth mesic forest.

On the second day of the meeting, the sites visited were Laketon Bog State Nature Preserve, a fen containing the southernmost population of larch in the state; and Ginn Woods, one of the largest stands of old-growth forest in the state, which is owned by Ball State University. The final day of field trips took the group to Pigeon RiverState Fish and Wildlife Area near Mongo, IN. Here, participants canoed into the Tamarack Bog State Nature Preserve, and later visited a fen in the Mongoquinong State Nature Preserve. Field trip leaders were Tom Post (Tefft and Spinn) and Lee Casebere (Pigeon River) of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Paul Rothrock of Taylor University (Laketon), and Kem Badger and Don Ruch of Ball State University (Ginn Woods). Evening presentations covered orchids of Indiana, presented by Mike Homoya of IDNR; nature photography, covered by Lee Casebere, and northern Indiana vegetation, by David Hicks of Manchester College. There were 25 participants, primarily from the eastern states, but also including some Midwesterners and one person from California. The meeting organizer was David Hicks, Becky Oldham was the field trip assistant, and Karl Anderson the treasurer.

—Dave Hicks

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