Plant Science Bulletin archive
Issue: 1958 v4 No 1 Spring
PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
A Publication of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.
VOLUME 4, NUMBER 1, JANUARY, 1958
HARRY J. FULLER, Editor, 203 Nat. Hist. Bldg., University of Illinois, Urbana. Illinois
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Panel on Systematic Botany Courses of the Committee on Educational Policies, Division of Biology and Agriculture, National Academy of Science8-"-National Research Council*
[Introductory Note: One unending tlUik confronting biologists concerned with teaching is to find effective ways of helping to keep instruction in pace with scientific advances and changing educational needs. Although various familiar methods for accomplishing this are in use, there seems to be a need for greater effort. Like other groups and individuals, the Committee on Educational Policies hlUi therefore looked for other approaches to the problem and has suggested several. One proposal is to organize ad hoc panels to examine the evolving content of a given field and to offer ideas about course organization, presenting them to stimulate teachers to reconsider their present practices.
A carefully chosen panel of competent working scientists could bring a larger fund of knowledge and ideas to bear upon the problem than any single individual may possess, and the interplay of their knowledge and ideas could lead to suggestions for courses that could give new emphasis to basic principles, could place the field in a fresh light, could build upon accumulated knowledge and experience without letting tradition dominate teaching unduly. (See Behnke, J. A., 1957. Toward improvement of advanced under-graduate biology courses. Plant Science Bulletin 3 (2): 8, April.) Aided by a grant from the National Science Foundation, the Committee, to test the idea, sponsored two such panels during the past year. The panel approach has merit, the Committee suggests, if a panel's report encourages continuing reevaluation and experimentation in teaching by individual faculty members, authors of textbooks and manuals, and college departments. If the approach demonstrates its value, similar ad hoc panels could be organized on a formal or informal basis by any group interested in a specific biological area.
The report of one experimental panel is presented here. The Committee takes great pleasure in expressing appreciation to the Panel on Systematic Botany Courses for their thoughtful and imaginative effort. We also want to emphasize what their report illustrates: that the key objective of this tactic is not to prescribe anything to anybody, but to help biologists focus upon teaching the kind of constructively critical thinking they focus upon bio- logical investigations, both as individuals and in symposia and conferences. - Howard M. Phillips, Chairman, Committee on Educational Policies.]
We have given prime consideration, in attempting to construct an outline for a course in Systematic Botany, to the statement in our instructions that "the objective is not to replace one orthodoxy by another but rather to stimulate continuing reevaluation and experimentation in teaching practice." We have also taken seriously the advice that our charge was to " 'throw the subject out the window' and start over."
When we pooled outlines of courses now being given, we concluded that our common agreements represented little more than pious platitudes. The teaching of Systematic or Taxonomic Botany differs widely from institution to institution. It is usually taught as a course in local flora, or as the classification of vascular or flowering plants. It may be distributed in one or several courses through fall, winter, spring, or summer, on the basis of quarters, semesters, or a whole year. Instruction may be by lecture, laboratory, or field work, or by any combination of these. In short, the particular instructional vehicle for Plant Taxonomy depends greatly upon local conditions and facilities, the particular curricular environment, and the interest and training of the instructor. Although we imagine that the scope of many such courses could be broadened with profit, we do not think any model would be appropriate for all situations.
We have tried, therefore, to divorce the subject of Plant Taxonomy from the detailed survey and classification of any particular group of plants (or other organisms) as an end in itself. Instead, we have endeavored to abstract those principles that should, in our opinion, be common to all teaching in Plant Taxonomy, the better to emphasize to both taxonomists and other biologists the fundamental nature of the subject.
None of us has attempted to give a course like that outlined below. As we have worked on it, we have come to think it might be possible and desirable to develop one. However, whether or not such a course is ever actually taught, we hope our essay will stimulate discussion, some re-thinking, and the ultimate improvement of the stereotyped taxonomy courses that now are all too prevalent. If such a stimulatory influence is realized, we shall feel that our efforts are well repaid.
Principles of Systematic Botany (Plant Taxonomy)
chromosmal behavior, habitat specificity, parasite-host relationships, developmental processes, etc. Thus, we understand the phenotype to be the full embodiment of interaction of genotype with environment.
II. The patterns resulting from this diversity are the product of evolution and hence deserve a phylogenetic interpretation.
III. The present patterns of similarities and differences may be classified in such a way that the arrangement reflects evolutionary sequence.
Objectives of a Course in Systematic Botany (Plant Taxonomy)
4. A knowledge of the methodology of identification and procedural techniques, and of the organized and available sources of information and documentation.
1. Introduction to diversity, emphasizing the existence of large discontinuities and groupings on the basis of similarities and evolutionary trends. (Any appropriate plants conveniently at hand may be used as examples, preferably to be studied out-of-doors. Such methodology as the construction and use of keys might profitably be introduced at this point.)
2. Detailed study of diversity as shown by evolutionary trends in different structures and processes, such as elaboration series, reduction series, etc. (Possible examples: (a) Organization and specialization of gametophyte or sporophyte; development and specialization of vascular tissue; development of reproductive organs; comparative morphology of photosynthetic structures; elaboration of the leaf, flower, or fruit; specialization of sori in ferns; body-type tendencies in algae. (b) Other graded trends in phenotypic expression that are not wholly or primarily morphological, such as parasitism; ecological specializations in aquatic or desert plants; dispersal and pollination mechanisms, as in Asclepiadaceae and Orchidaceae; genome series.) Thus, no major plant group would be studied in all its details, but suitable illustrative evolutionary specializations would be selected from appropriate plant groups.
3. Organization of diversity.
4. Biological basis of diversity and taxonomy, the mechanisms underlying evolution.
5. Phylogeny of a particular group of plants and the methods of determining it.
6. Taxonomy in relation to other biological fields.
7. Taxonomy in relation to human affairs.
8. Historical development of taxonomic thought, as a phase of history of science and intellectual history.
* Lincoln Constance, University of California at Berkeley, Chairman; Harlan Lewis, University of California at Los Angeles; Reed C. Rollins, Harvard University; Robert F. Thorne, State University of Iowa; Warren H. Wagner, Jr., University of Michigan.
Stanford University, August 1957
Meeting called to order by Pres. Avery, 1 p.m., Aug. 25. . . Sec. Bold presented results of balloting for officers. Council instructed him to present names of nominees and their votes at business meeting for action by the membership. Sec. Bold presented his report, mentioning the new edition of the Yearbook (Misc. Publ. 140), the increasing number of inquiries about vocational and professional opportunities in plant sciences, the removal of his records to U. of Texas. Report accepted. Treas. Fuller presented an interim financial re- port, which indicated a cash balance of $5,363.53 on Aug. 20, 1957; he estimated a balance of $3,163.00 at end of fiscal year (Nov. 30, 1957). Report accepted. Treas. presented also a proposed budget for 1958, with estimated expenditures totaling $15,452.00 Budget ac- cepted. Treas. gave a report on membership: total membership as of Aug. 20, 1957-2,004 (1665 regular members, 271 grad. student members, 24 family memberships, 31 corresponding members; 13 life members). Retired members-42, delinquent members-l02. . . . Bus. Mgr. Canright of Amer. Jour. Bot. presented his report, which was accepted by the Council. . . . Retiring editor, Steere of AJB presented his annual report on the operations of AJB, stated that the McGraw-Hill Book Co. will publish in the winter of 1957-58 a volume containing the 40 invitation papers published in the Golden Jubilee volume (vol. 43) and in some numbers of vol. 44 of AJB. He reported favorable reaction of numerous members to the occasional publication of general papers of similar type in future volumes of AJB. He reported also that H. J. Fuller would become editor of AJB on Sept. 1, 1957. . . . Editor Fuller of Pl. Sci. Bull. reported on 1957 activities of that organ. He suggested that wider geographical distribution of news coverage would improve PSB, suggested that regional correspondents be appointed. Council approved publication of PSB on bimonthly basis during 1958, in view of many requests for more frequent publication. . . . Sec. Bold presented report of Director Harlan Banks and his staff for their excellent organization and administration of the 1957 institute. Sec. was instructed to explore possible sites for an NSF Summer Institute in Botany for 1959 and to act for the Society in this matter. . . . Sydney Greenfield presented brief report of Committee' on Education for Chairman Victor Greulach. . . . Brief report of Com. on Membership was presented. Com. believes that graduate students continue to represent an important source of new members. . . . Chairman Papenfuss of Darbaker A wards Committee reported that the committee was making no award in 1957. . . . Chairman Creighton of Com. on Corresponding Members reported committee's desire to nominate the following for corresponding membership: Isabel Cookson (Univ. of Melbourne); Lothar Geitler (Univ. of Vienna); Rene Soueges (Paris); Walter Zimmerman (Univ. of Tiibingen). Council approved these nominations. Chairman Boke of Committee on Merit Awards recommended the following for Certificates of Merit: Barbara McClintock (Carnegie Institute of Washington), Donald F. Jones (Univ. of Conn, and Conn. Agr. Exp. Sta.), Paul Mangelsdorf (Harvard), and William H. Weston (Harvard). (NOTE: the complete citations for these 4 botanists are published elsewhere in this number). The committee was thanked and discharged; a new committee is to be appointed. . . . Committee on National Herbarium made no report and was dissolved , . . . Committee on Use of Botanists in National Emergency had nothing significant to report, was dissolved. . . . A report was received from R. E. Cle- land, Bot. Soc. representative to Governing Board of AIBS. . . . A brief report was read from P. B. Sears, representative to Council of AAAS. . . . E. L. Little, Jr., representative to Chem.- Biol. Coordination Center sent a written report indicating discontinuance of the Center on July 1, 1957. . . . Status of Bot. Soc. Guidance Booklet was reviewed. Pres. Avery was asked to revise the booklet and to present it to Executive Committee of Council, which is to explore ways of financing its publication. . . . Requirements for retired membership were discussed. Sec. was instructed to circulate a proposed amendment to the By-laws to replace Art. II, l-e: All members of the Society who have held membership in the society for 25 years and who have retired from their positions may apply for Retired Membership in the Society by writing the secretary. Retired members shall continue to receive the publications of the Society without further payment of dues". . . . Council made the following appointments: Representative to Div: of Biology and Agric., NRC, for a 3-yr. term - David Goddard; Representative to Council of AIBS 1957-1960 - Oswald Tippo; to Board of Governors of AIBS - Ralph Cleland. . . . Sec. was instructed to offer Society's good offices to Dept. of State in screening foreign botanists who might be seeking admission to the U.S. at time of 9th International Bot. Congress in 1959. . . . Sec. was instructed to quote a fee of $ 25 to those requesting a run of the Society's addressograph plates. The Sec. is to arrange for Treas. to pay AIBS for this service and to deposit the balance to the society's credit. Sec. is authorized to sell Yearbook at $5 per copy. . . . Council ruled that the Society should not officially support the candidacy of any person for an honorary degree. . . . Council heard a proposal to make the Society's fiscal year coincide with the calendar year, but took no action. . . . Secretary was instructed to determine the cost of microfilming the Society's records and to report it to the Council. . . . In view of a re- quest transmitted to the Society by Dr. Cleland in 1956 that it increase its annual contribution to AIBS, Sec. was instructed to find out the amounts contributed by other plant science societies to AIBS and to Biological Abstracts and to report this information to the Council at the 1958 meeting. . . , Discussion revealed that a special registration fee of $3 (instead of $5) is available to graduate students who register for AIBS meetings in advance. . . . Sec. was instructed to determine sentiment of members regarding meetings of Bot. Soc. in 1959, year of the 9th Int. Bot. Congress. . . . Sec. reported results of his poll of members concerning abstracts. Majority of about 1,000 members responding indicated that they would like abstracts of papers presented at meetings published in advance of meetings and that they would be willing to pay increased dues for such abstracts. Council decided to devote further study to the matter of abstracts. . . . Chairman Creighton of Com. on 9th Internat. Bot. Congress reported no activity of that committee, stating that Canadian botanists are assuming complete responsibility, although they may delegate some items to some American botanists.
Stanford University, August 26 and 27, 1957
Meeting called to order by Pres. Avery at I :05 p.m. in Cubberly Hall. . . . Sec. Bold presented results of second nominating ballot, showing top candidates based on ballots from about 1200 members. Sec. was instructed to cast a ballot for those receiving highest num- ber of votes. Officers for 1958 are therefore: Pres.- F. W. Went; Vice-Pres.-H. J. Fuller; Treas.- A. J. Sharp; Member of Editorial Board-Ralph Wetmore. Sec. Bold continues in his office until 1959. . . . Sec. reported on results of poll of members on abstracts, showing that majority of members favor publication of abstracts before annual meeting. No action taken; further study will be made of this question. . . . Retired Editor W. C. Steere of Amer. Jour. Bot. presented his report, announced that H. J. Fuller would succeed him on Sept. 1, 1957. Membership voted to accept Dr. Steere's report and to express its appreciation of his services. . . . Editor Fuller of Pl. Sci. Bull. presented a brief report, announcing that that journal would appear on a bimonthly schedule in 1958 . . . Adriance Foster, speaking for Harlan Banks, reported on the 1957 Summer Institute of Botany held at Cornell, stated that Sec. Bold had been authorized to begin study of plans for a similar institute in 1959. . . . Treas. Fuller presented an interim report, the budget for 1958, and a report on membership. Reports accepted. . . . Bus. Mgr. Canright of Amer. Jour. Bot. presented an interim report of financial aspects of AJB. Report accepted. . . . Chairman Creighton reported for Com. on Corresponding Members, which recommended election of Isabel Cookson, Lothar Geiter, Rene Soueges, and Walter Zimmerman. Membership voted to approve election of these 4 botanists. . . . Reports were made by Ralph Cleland, Bot. Soc. representative to Governing Board of AIBS. Elbert Little Jr., Bot. Soc. representative to Chem.-Biol. Coordination Center. . . At banquet, held at 7 p.m. Aug. 28. at Rickey's Studio Inn, the names of recipients of 1957 Certificates of Merit were announced; these persons are Barbara McClintock, Donald F. Jones, Paul Manglesdorf, and William H. Weston.
(These notes are addressed to members of a special U.S. advisory committee and to secretaries of botanical societies of N. Amer. in order to bring them up to date on progress of organization).
At its Golden Jubilee banquet in August 1956, Bot. Soc. presented Certificates of Merit to 50 botanists for their distinguished contributions to our science. At that time, Bot. Soc. announced its plan to present such certificates to additional botanists in succeeding years. Those botanists who received Certificates of Merit at Bot. Soc's. 1957 banquet and their citations are the following:
Botany and zoology at U. of Wisc. are expanding their quarters for the first time since 19 I 2. They have moved into a new addition to Birge Hall. The extra space provided by this new wing doubles the space available to these departments.
R. E. Cleland, Bot. Soc. representative to Governing Board of AIBS, reported at Bot. Soc. Council meeting at Stanford that the next 4 AIBS meetings will be held in these places: 1958-Indiana Univ., Bloomington, Indiana; 1959-Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, Pa.; 1960 -Oklahoma State Univ., Stillwater, Okla.; 1961 - Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass. The 1958 meeting will be held Aug. 24-28; dates for other meetings will be announced later.
Board of Directors of the Andre Dreyfus Foundation invites geneticists to register as applicants for its International Genetics Prize for 1958, valued at 150,000 cruzeiros ($1500). The prize is available to individuals or groups from any country working in genetics or related fields. The prize is intended for the development of research programs, research travel, and publication of research results. Applications should be ac- companied by the candidate's curriculum vitae, list of publications, detailed plan of proposed research program or a copy of the ms. for publication. In case of equality of qualifications, preference will be given to the project which may have more direct influence on the development of genetics research in Brazil. Applications and supporting documents should be received by Secretary General of the Foundation not later than Jan. 31, 1958. (Jenny Dreyfus, Secreta ria Geral da Fundacao-Premio Andre Dreyfus, Rua Belfort Roxo 40, apto. 502, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).
The Labor Foundation will offer 40 awards to college and univ. faculty members for biological research in summer 1958. The awards are primarily for research involving chemistry and physics in attacking biological problems. Upper age limit for applicants is 40. Awards will be approx. $900 for a single person, $1.100 for a married man at his home institution, and $1.250 for a married man working at another institution. In recent years, the foundation has maintained a number of post- doctorate fellowships at Marine BioI. Lab., Woods Hole, Mass.; these have been consolidated into the present program, and scientists wishing to work at Woods Hole should submit applications under the new program. Inquiries should be addressed to Lalor Foundation, 4400 Lancaster Pike, Wilmington 5, Del. Final date for receipt of applications is Jan. 14, 1958. Notification of appointments will be made about March 15, 1958.
Among recipients of Lalor awards in 1957 were: Charlotte Ayers, Univ. of Miami; Norman Bishop, Univ. of Chicago; Theodore Cayle, Washington Univ.; Gordon Christiansen, Connecticut College; Robert Le- vine, Harvard Univ.; Karl Maramorosch, Rockefeller Inst. for Med. Research; Raymond Wolfe, Univ. of Oregon; Marko Zalokar, Yale.
Harold St. John, first Wilder Prof. of Botany at Univ. of Hawaii, has been elected an Honorary Member of the Botanical Society of Japan. according to Dr. S. Hattori, president of the society. Election was made at the Diamond Jubilee of the society in Tokyo. Oct. 1957. . . .
The Committee on the Darbaker Prize will accept nominations for an award to be announced at the annual meeting of the Society in 1958. The award is to be made for meritorious work in the study of algae. Persons not members of Bot. Soc. are eligible for the award. The Committee will base its judgment primarily on the papers published by the nominee during the last two calendar years previous to the closing date for nominations. The award will be limited to residents of North America. Only papers published in English will be considered. Nominations for the 1958 award, accompanied by a statement of the merits of the case and by reprints of the publications supporting the candidacy, should be sent to the Chairman of the Committee to be received by May1, 1958. The value of the Prize for 1958 will depend on the income from the trust fund but is expected to be about $200.00
In order to make more effective the news-gathering facilities of PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN, the Editorial Board is setting up a system of Regional Correspondents who will aid in gathering news items, manuscripts, and other materials of especial interest to botanists from fellow-botanists in their respective regions. The March number of PSB will bear a list of all these Regional Correspondents and the areas for which they will have reportorial responsibility. Members of Bot. Soc. are urged to communicate with their Regional Correspondents when they have news to report: promotions, resignations, changes in institutions, deaths of botanists, fellowship awards, scientific honors, research requests, professional travel, etc. The success of PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN will depend in large degree upon the extent to which Bot. Soc. members inform their correspondents of notable and newsworthy items. Watch the March 1958 number of PSB for the name of your Regional Correspondent I-Ed.
Pierre Dansereau, first vice-pres. and liaison officer with U.S. botanists. reports, apropos of October, 1957, PSB's note on the Congress, that his institution, Univ. of Montreal. as well as McGill Univ., will be a center for sessions of the Congress.
Univ. of Alabama has recently received 136 acres of government land valued at $176.000. About 3 miles north from the Univ. campus, the area will be variously used; 90 acres are to be developed by the biology dept. into an arboretum for teaching and research. E. Gibbes Patton is director of the arboretum.
The Cooley Award in taxonomy for the best paper presented at the Stanford meeting of Amer. Soc. of Plant Taxonomists was divided in 1957 between John B. Haller, Univ. of Calif. at Santa Barbara, for his paper on "The relations of Pinus ponderosa and P. jeffreyi" and Kenton L. Chambers, Yale, for his paper on "Cyto-genetic evidence of the relationships of Microseris scapigera."
It has begun. The launching of two Russian satellites has brought demands from the editorial writers and magazine scriveners, from the statesmen and politicians, from military leaders, from scientists and scientific organizations, from other spokesmen of our society, that we must have more and better education in the sciences, that we must discover scientific talent in young people at an earlier age and more assuredly, that we must insure that talented young people of limited financial resources be granted more scholarships and
other monetary aids for the support of their sound scientific education. All to the good, but the problem is far from simple. Better scientific education requires better, more stimulating, more perspicacious teachers of science. Increasing the quantity of science education will avail us little if its quality is not at the same time improved. Thus, better training of science te;1chers at all levels of our educational system becomes an essential feature of the improvement of science education. Further, in our desire to improve both the quantity and quality of science education we must not lose perspective to the extent that we encourage, or even allow, increased science education to plasmolyze education in the humanities and in the more respectable and less carminative social studies. To do so would be to effect the loss of certain great values in education.
One of the real dangers attendant upon the current enthusiasm for expanded science education is that of confusing science with technology. There is already evidence in the daily press and in the columns of magazines that such confusion is growing. Scientists of all subspecies must make clear at every opportunity that technology, true, is a part of science but that it is not the major part, that its growth and achievements are derivative of the work and discoveries of investigators in the "pure sciences", of men and women, that is, who are motivated primarily by human curiosity about this strange and wondrous universe in which we live, not by their desire to produce more impressive technological gadgets. The physicists, of course, have a golden opportunity to point out this relationship in describing the contributions of Enrico Fermi, Arthur Compton, Albert Einstein, and other "pure" physicists to the development of the atomic bomb. At first glance it would appear that botany and botanists can play only a minor role, if any, in the advance of those features of science that may lead to the improvement of American satellites (unlaunched at this writing) and to the development of intercontinental missiles. But botanists do have the opportunity to emphasize the contributions of "pure science" discoveries to practical applications, and they should take advantage of that opportunity to implant in the minds of their students and all other lay- men that lesson. Which, clearly understood, can reduce or eliminate confusion and can promote the support of the basic, fundamental sciences. We have many examples of research in the plant sciences to emphasize that idea: the discovery of plant hormones by men whose only desire was to explain features of the internal regulation of plant growth; and the resulting practical applications, such as promotion of the rooting of cuttings, prevention of pre-harvest fruit drop through growth-regulator sprays, and the killing of weeds by 2.4-D and related compounds; the debt of modern practical plant breeders to the fundamental discoveries of a gentle and obscure Austrian priest; the improvement of modern fertilizers as a result of investigations of the basic features of mineral nutrition of plants by plant physiologists intent upon finding out more about how plants live; the use of artificial lighting to control the flowering of greenhouse crops, a technique derived from the original work on photoperiodism; the dependence of the control of plant diseases upon basic knowledge of the physiology of parasitic fungi and other pathogens. Botanists should sing this theme song at every opportunity; this harmonizing will help to indicate to the public at large and to lawmakers that, in all programs of improving technology, "pure research" is fundamental and that technological advances may continue only to the degree that basic research is encouraged and supported.
Don't forget that the new treasurer (as of Dec. 1. 1957) of Bot. Soc. is A. J. Sharp, Dept. of Botany, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn. All dues payments, address changes, new membership applications, etc., should be sent to him henceforth. not to the retired treasurer, H. J. Fuller, Univ. of Illinois.
The late Dr. E. V. Lynn, Dept. of Chemistry, Mass. College of Pharmacy, spent many years searching the literature for references to phytochemistry. The results of his work are to be found on some 80,000 index slips, covering references through 1954, at Mass. College of Pharmacy. This collection is known as the Lynn File. Professors John W. Schermerhorn and M. W. Quimby of that institution have undertaken the organization and editing of the material for publication as THE LYNN INDEX. This work has been in progress since June 1957, under a grant furnished by Smith, Kline, and French Laboratories. Monograph I of the index, consisting of 46 pages, has been published recently and is now available. It is estimated that 70 to 80 issues will be needed to complete the project. The contents of each monograph will be arranged so that one can determine what work has been reported on a given plant and what constituents have been isolated and identified. The bibliographies will be annotated so that the reader can quickly determine whether a specific/citation deals with a phase in which he is interested. Each monograph will center upon species from a single family or from a group of related families. Monograph I treats the order Centrospermae and includes nearly 400 references to species in 60 genera among the Aizoaceae, Amaranthaceae, Caryophyllaceae, Chenopodiaceae, Nyctaginaceae, Phytolaccaceae, and Portulacaceae. Announcements will be made later as further issues of THE LYNN INDEX are published. Monograph I is available at $1 per copy. A check or money order should accompany each order. Address orders to THE LYNN INDEX, Mass. College of Pharmacy, 179 Longwood Ave., Boston 15. Mass.
July 1957 PSB carried information about Pergamon Institute, without, however, stating the U.S. address of that organization. This information has just reached the editor: Pergamon Institute, 122 E. 55th St., New York 22, N.Y.