Plant Science Bulletin archive
Issue: 1966 v12 No 4 Winter
PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
A Publication of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.
December 1966 Volume Twelve Number Four
The Botanist as Scientist and Citizen1
A. J. Sharp
A year ago our Retiring President, Dr. Kramer, gave a challenging discussion of "Botany in a Changing World." At this time I would like to look beyond the science to the practitioner, and examine the botanist's role as a scientist, and citizen, in a swiftly changing universe.
Each generation, I suppose, feels that it exists in a time of crisis, and probably there is an element of truth in this feeling. But crises vary in degrees of intensity, and are seldom exactly comparable. It has been repeated again and again by all our means of communication that we are now in a period of extreme crisis, and with this I will agree. The difference, I feel, between our epoch and previous critical periods lies in the relatively short time allotted to us for the solution of the dangerous, and often subtle, problems which threaten us.
The dangers to our civilization are inherent in our handling of a number of questions, the most serious of which is the rapid multiplication of man amid the gaIloping depletion and deterioration of his natural resources. This problem is one which we as botanists, because we deal with primary resources, should well understand and to which we should be able to contribute much.
But at present, we ourselves are perplexed, trying to decide whether we should be scientists or technicians, teachers or investigators, chemists or ecologists, and whether we should remain cloistered, or should participate in community life.
Probably each of us "worth his salt" considers himself a specialist. Although this assemblage here is a limited representation of the community of botanists, we individually first think of ourselves as morphologists, taxonomists, mycologists, bryologists, or some other type of specialist. At the same time we must remember that we are not only botanists and biologists but also members of a large fraternity of scientists.
As scientists we have the responsibility of attempting to find and understand the relationships existing between one specialty and another, between our own little fragment of knowledge and life around us, between our specialty
1Address of the Retiring President of the Botanical Society of America, presented at the Society's annual banquet, August 17, 1966, at College Park, Maryland. (Contribution from the Botanical Laboratory, The University of Tennessee, N. Ser. 271.)
and the universe as a whole. I cannot emphasize too strongly that there is only one universe and each part is related to and integrated with every other part.
As scientists we have the obligation to extend our enquiries beyond our own little bailiwick, even if at a more superficial level. We must train ourselves to think beyond the DNA molecule, the chloroplast, the species, in relating plants to the past, to the present welfare of man, and to our hopes for the future. In addition, it is incumbent upon us to teach not only our students, but also our fellow-citizens and our politicians of these relationships. Also, we must aggressively facilitate the ex-change of pertinent ideas between our country and particularly the underdeveloped ones, for science and the problems facing us are international.
The border line between science and technology is obscure, and may it remain so; but at the same time we, society, and the politicians should understand some of the fundamental differences in scientific methods and achievements. Only thus can we get a reasonable balance in the support of both technology and science. As I understand it, scientists search for the unknowns such as new evidence concerning matter or fundamental relation-ships within our universe of which we are unaware. Technologists attempt to apply scientific information to problems. It is clear that pure science must provide the reservoir of material out of which technology operates. It also should furnish philosophical assistance to the humanities and social sciences.
The natural sciences never have been so favored as they are -at present. Although there have been some in-equities in the division of the resources, they are each much better supported than they have been in the past, and so much better financed than the humanities and the social sciences that this in itself is a problem.
The recent legislation creating a National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities was extremely wise. I feel that expansion of research in these fields will help man to understand himself better, and thus may provide greater benefits to humanity; greater than came from the recent emphasis on research in science and technology. It is incumbent upon us, the botanists and natural scientists, to see that the humanities, the arts, and the social sciences are at least as adequately supported as we have been (and why not better?)—and that every phase of each discipline gets its share of public support. We must insist that division of funds is not made on a basis of drama, or fad, or the "Squeaky wheel," but on everlasting merit.
To permit technology to expand explosively at the expense of pure science, or worse yet to the detriment of the humanities and social sciences, is to invite catastrophic chaos. It is possible that we may have already reached the point of no-return by developing atomic explosives and other destructive devices and placing them in the hands of those who have little education beyond the technical level, and who are ill-advised in the safe use of them. Military technology can terribly bankrupt our philosophy, as well as our economy, and perhaps even destroy man's chance of survival.
We strive to reach the moon and to investigate Mars, when we so poorly understand our own earthly habitat, particularly the relationships between man and man, and between society and society. Our tendency to promote the spectacular, the dramatic, or the intimidating phases of science and technology at the expense of discovering our fundamental relationship to our environment is growing; such a trend will decrease the quality of our civilization and could completely destroy it.
Lest some of you misunderstand, I have no quarrel with those who would try to place men on the moon or attempt to discover the nature of the surface of Mars. These are challenging problems, and I support them as long as in doing so, we do not jeopardize our chances of understanding our environment and human relations here, and of securing for mankind some chance of survival into the future. Sometimes I am reminded of a quotation from Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea:
I am glad that we do not have to try to kill the stars. Imagine if each day a man must try to kill the moon. The moon runs away. But imagine if a man each day should have to try to kill the sun? We are born lucky. Yes, we are born lucky.
Another matter which should be of concern to us as scientists is our failure to give our fellow citizens the kind of interpretations which help them to see the relation-ships between our expensive activities and their everyday life, endeavors which should enhance spiritual values or improve economic conditions. We need to see to it that news of our work and the results thereof are understood by our voters, and particularly our politicians, in such a manner that they comprehend our objectives, and can defend demands that we be adequately supported.
Involved in this problem is the extensive and often unnecessary multiplication of scientific jargon. As examples, why should we attempt to replace botany by phycology, or algology by phycology, or plant chemistry by phytochemistry, only to confuse our lay supporters? New terms must be coined as knowledge accumulatesyes—but unnecessary multiplication of technical words makes it difficult for the layman to understand us. Man is suspicious and afraid of that which he does not comprehend. It is possible that we may experience an alienation of support from the general public because of this deficiency in public relations. In recent years we as botanists have not been very clever in presenting our cause to the public.
We should assist in the recruitment and the training of science reporters. The temptation always is to proselyte the type of student who would make a good interpreter of science into science itself. This in the end is a short-sighted course, for the job of reporting sciences to the layman demands an understanding scholar of high intelligence who is capable both of written analysis and written synthesis.
As scientists, I am sure we are well aware of the problems involved in the teaching of undergraduates. The emphasis on research has been greatly augmented in the period since World War II, to the point that, by contrast, the teaching of beginning college students has been relegated to a place of relative unimportance. The seriousness of this problem cannot be overestimated. Poor teaching diminishes the quality of the students entering graduate science programs. Moreover, we deny the housewife, the banker, the lawyer, those who are to be our future voters and politicians, the chance to get a broad and intelligent understanding not only of our discipline, but also of the intricate relationships in our environment. If we fail to teach them, they cannot influence our political officials and our legislatures to provide those actions which ensure our future. It is very important that we give up the illusion that the intracellular sciences are a sane substitute for all organismal and environmental biology in their education.
I hope we do not excuse ourselves from our clear obligations merely on a basis of the flood of students, or because the administration may take insufficient interest in the excellence of our teaching. It is our obligation to participate in undergraduate instruction, in recruiting and training good teaching personnel, and in obtaining a better balance in the recognition, both in status and in salary, of both good teachers and good research professors. I would upgrade both!
Part of the responsibility for the unrest on the campus today can be placed on our attitudes, and those of the public, toward instruction. Up to an advanced level the student has been told rather than taught. Because of the large numbers of bodies which we are all too willing to accept, there is seldom time for more than impersonal lectures which are becoming more frequently "canned,"
and the administrators and politicians are sure that we cannot afford somewhat more costly but more effective methods. And not until the students are juniors or seniors or in graduate school are they permitted a somewhat free discussion of their ideas and reactions. Is it surprising, in view of this delay in informal contacts with teachers, that there is a rebellion in our large institutions?
The Botanical Society of America has traditionally had a strong, imaginative Committee on Education, one which has been recognized as a leader among those interested in the teaching of sciences. I hope the present Committee will be even more vigorous than those of the past, and that we individually will give it strong support, in pursuing the problem of adequate instruction for the masses in our classes, who tomorrow will be in control of our resources and our destiny.
Again, we are more than botanists or scientists; we are citizens! As such we have responsibilities to the community and society in which we live. It is incumbent upon us to give some attention to social and political problems. It may take time and energy from us to discharge these obligations, but I can cite several reasons why it must be done.
As citizens, we have the tradition of realizing the importance of our microcosm only after it is "diseased." We worry about erosion, water and air pollution, depleted water supplies, and other environmental problems only after they have become essentially gangrenous. Would it not be wiser to keep the "patient" well? I will admit that prevention of damage to our environment requires first, an intelligent awareness of the interrelationships in our environment and second, careful thought—both of which are scarce commodities in our present cultural atmosphere. Incidentally, it costs less in the end. Substitution of dollars for this awareness and thought may delay the total destruction of a habitat in which we can survive, but money alone cannot prevent it.
We, as botanical citizens, deal with the resources most basic to our social economy. Food, clothing, housing and furniture, protection for our soils, reservoirs for rainwater, and food and cover for wildlife come directly or indirectly from plants. No one should be in a better position than botanists to teach and advise students, laymen, and legislators concerning production and wise use of these plant materials. Actually our interests should extend beyond these resources into such matters as the pollution of water, air, and foodstuffs, and even population controls. As scientists and citizens I feel we have an unusual obligation to take an active, not just a passive, role in the decision-making, as well as in education, concerning these matters. And, I emphasize that it must be done in an objective manner. To ask people in the employ of an industry to give an impartial appraisal of the effects of their products on the environment and total welfare of mankind is futile, and indeed stupid.
Unfortunately each individual has a very dim view of the conditions of the past, and his evaluations usually are based on what he remembers from his youth. This, through time, can lead to an insidious erosion of values whether they pertain to the environment or to the spirit—a fact that is far too little appreciated. To be fully effective, comparative evaluations must be rooted in history more extensive than one lifetime.
Botanists and other scientists have been unusually reluctant to accept political, and some social, responsibilities. In fact we almost have a tradition of nonparticipation in governmental matters. I am not urging that we participate in politics as an organization, although I can visualize circumstances when that might be wise, but rather that we accept the individual obligations accruing from our citizenship.
We must be more aggressive in our willingness to inform and to serve as advisers and consultants, even with-out fees where public welfare demands it. We must talk and/or write to our Iocal politicians and our state and federal officers, and encourage our students and neighbors to do the same, when important decisions affecting society are about to be made. We cannot afford wrong decisions to be made, or to stand, because we have failed to inform, to advise, or to protest.
May I repeat something I have suggested before. If we are to continue to ask for, and receive adequate support in the future, we must see to it that the voters and legislature receive adequate and clear information about us and our work. It is possible that the gap in communication between the scientists and the laymen could widen to the point that the public would aggressively interfere with our activities instead of supporting them. Moreover, we must not fail to discharge our obligations at the polls, or even, when the occasion demands, serve as political candidates and as elected officials. We must make an intense effort to understand the intricate relationships, and the problems inherent therein, among scientific, social, and political structures.
In summary, I have attempted to remind you that you are not only botanists, but scientists and citizens. By taking full advantage of our responsibilities we can instill in our students, and also the public, a broad philosophy concerning their relationship to the universe, which could enhance in many ways the lives of present and future generations. I feel it is our obligation, and we can and must accept it.
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
Our first article under "Guidelines to Botanical Teaching" appears in this issue. Your comments, recommendations, and criticisms are solicited. Should we continue with this series? Should the articles be longer or shorter than this prototype, or is it about right in length? If you think this proposed series of articles will prove useful we particularly request that you send in what you think are appropriate manuscripts, or encourage your colleagues to do so.
Approximately 200 "Guides to Graduate Study in Botany" have now been sold, but we shall have to sell somewhat more than twice this number to pay for their preparation and printing. Please call your graduating seniors' attention to this document as a guide to their selection of an appropriate graduate school. Copies may be purchased for $3.00 each, postpaid, by writing to
Secretary of the Botanical Society of America, Department of Botany, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47401.
Guidelines to Botanical Teaching
Topics in Ultrastructure for Introductory College Botany
Arthur L. Cohen Washington State University
In contrast with the older view of the cell which held it to be a bag of more or less viscous liquid with organelles floating in it, the modern view sees the cell as a highly ordered system of structures. Many of the basic chemical functions of the cell, such as synthesis and respiration, take place on surfaces (cell and vacuolar membranes, Golgi bodies, mitochondria, chloroplasts, endoplasmic reticulum) or on particles attached to the membrane (ribosomes, oxysomes, quantasomes). Mechanical movement (protoplasmic streaming, chromosomal movement, flagellar movement) is associated with fine fibers or with tubules.
These subcellular structures almost bridge the gap between the optically observable parts and the biochemical activities of the cell. They cannot be ignored if coherence is to be given to the presentation of the cell and organism in an elementary course. A checklist of topics with suggested places where they may be introduced into the elementary botany course is given here, as well as some indication of their relative importance. The field of cell biology is advancing so rapidly that terminology and interpretations are still somewhat confused. Therefore an explanatory glossary is provided for certain cell structures. The brief annotated bibliography lists important general books in English.
Some Cell Structures—A Guide for the Perplexed
Centriole. Basically a complex cylindrical body usually consisting of nine peripheral fibers with or without two central ones. So far not found in tracheophytes except in antherozoids and their immediate precursor cells. Also more or less synonymous with centrosome, basal body, blepharoplast, kinetoplast.
Chloroplast. As the prime converter of energy for biological processes, and the most characteristic structure of the plant, chloroplasts and photosynthesis have long been the subject of intensive study. Nevertheless there are facets of structure and function which are still unresolved. Constructs of the relation of grana membranes to each other and to the stroma vary from author to author, as do details of the origin of chloroplasts. The instructor who attempts to get a picture of chloroplast by reading several different sources may find himself lost in difficulties. (For a critical discussion, see T. E. Weier, Amer. J. Bat. 50:604. 1963.) The quantasomes found as minute bodies on the grana are supposed to be the primary sites of photosynthesis. They are thus the counterpart of the mitochondrial oxysomes.
Endoplasmic reticulum and ribosomes. The endoplasmic reticulum is generally more prominent in animal than in plant cells. Much of the endoplasmic reticulum known as rough or granular reticulum has attached ribosomes, the site of protein synthesis. Since the agranular reticulum lacks ribosomes, it is also called smooth endoplasmic reticulum. The endoplasmic reticulum has sometimes been seen to be continuous with the nuclear envelope, and may have its origin as evaginations of the envelope. The origin of the ribosomes is not altogether clear, although it appears that they originate as formed bodies in the nucleus. The relation of ribosomes to other RNA-bearing components of the cell (messenger RNA, transfer RNA) is considered in many texts in genetics and biology and need not be further discussed here. Ribosomes may occur in groups, known as polyribosomes or polysomes, and may also occur free in the cytoplasm.
Golgi body (or apparatus). The Golgi body is also known as the dictyosome, especially in plants. The Golgi bodies of animal cells are generally larger than those of plant cells, fewer in number, and situated near the nucleus instead of being scattered through the cytoplasm. The cytologist hence knew where to look and what to look for. Thus some older books carry the statement based on optical microscope data that this organ does not exist in plants. The Golgi appears to be primarily concerned with the accumulation and secretion of substances. Probably the stacks of membranes called Golgi have different functions even in the same cell, for protein, lipoid, and polysaccharide secretion have been ascribed to them. In the dividing cells of some plants, they are concentrated characteristically against the forming cell plate, and may secrete the substances involved in its formation.
Lysosome. Bodies, about the size of mitochondria or smaller, which are packed with hydrolytic enzymes. Al-though the cells of higher plants do not have structures which resemble the lysosomes of animal cells in all respects, the spherosomes (microsomes of older botanists) may be more or less equivalent.
Microsorne. In the past, a name given to almost any minute distinct structure in the cell. More recently applied to particles containing RNA found after cells are mechanically ruptured. Apparently microsomes in this sense have no existence in the living cells—the microsomes of ruptured cells are probably fragments of endoplasmic reticulum membrane with attached ribosomes. The term micro-some, because of the confusion surrounding it, should be discarded.
Membranes of cells and vacuoles. The basic membrane structure of the cell is now thought to be a sandwich of protein-lipoid-protein approximately 75 A in thickness. J. D. Robertson has applied the now generally accepted term, unit membrane, to this sandwich. In the usual high resolution electron micrograph the membrane appears to be an empty space between two dense lines. The clear region merely indicates that the material is electron trans-parent, not that there is an empty space. The unit membrane, or multiples of it, seems to compose the membranes of vacuoles, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, and therefore the unit may be considered a basic cytoplasmic structure.
Microtubules. In recent years fine tubes have been found in the cytoplasm of animal and plant cells. These tubes (or more probably rods with an electron-dense sheath and an electron-transparent core) have a wall composed of 10-13 fibrils, probably of protein nature. Each of the 11 filaments of a flagellum seems to be composed of such tubules as do the spindle fibers. The microtubules appear to be an important component of the cytoplasm concerned with structure and movement, either ciliary or protoplasmic streaming. Too recent to be discussed in the general references given at the end of this paper, they are nevertheless mentioned here because of the rapidly increasing recognition of their importance as a fundamental component of the cytoplasm. Cytoplasmic microrubules, microfilaments, and microfibrils as used by the general cytologist should not be confused with the microfibrils, which is a botanical term for the fibrils in plant cell walls.
Mitochondria, chondriosomes. Although mitochondrion is the generally accepted term for this organelle, the name chondriosome is also used, particularly in botanical literature. The chondriome refers to the collection or system of chondriosomes. As the chief source of respiration energy in the cell, the mitochondria should occupy a prominent place in any discussion of ultrastructure. The outer membrane appears to be made of two unit membranes in juxtaposition, and the cristae are infoldings of the inner unit membrane. The small bodies seen on the cristae, the oxysomes are believed to carry the Krebs cycle-cytochrome system. There is some question as to whether the oxysomes are on the surface as seen in high-resolution micrographs, or whether they are normally imbedded in the membrane and are forced to the surface by the trauma of fixation. The mitochondria have much in common with chloroplasts. Both have DNA and are presumably self-duplicating by budding, both are energy converters, and both have their major activity on internal membranes.
Nucleus, nucleolus. The electron microscope has revealed the double unit membrane structure of the nuclear envelope, its continuity with the endoplasmic reticulum, confirmed the existence of spindle fibers, and it has revealed little else. Basic chromosome structure is still a confused field. (For a particularly clear and concise discussion, see Morrison in the bibliography.) Cytochemical tests have shown the nucleolus to be largely composed of RNA, but whether it is a source or a reservoir and what relation it bears to the cytoplasmic RNA has not yet been clarified.
Spherosome. Apparently formed in the endoplasmic reticulum, the spherosomes are apparently reservoirs of lipoids and possibly of some enzymes. Spherosomes are finely granular at high magnifications without discernible regular substructure. The spherosomes are mentioned be-cause they may be seen with the light microscope as minute dense bodies, often in rapid Brownian motion. Possibly they have a common origin with lysosomes, the larger, enzyme-containing vesicles characteristic of animal cells but not definitely recognized in higher plants.
Prokaryotes, bacteria, and blue-green algae. These organisms have been placed in the plant kingdom because the majority of them have rigid cell walls and because most blue-green algae and some bacteria carry out photo-synthesis. Yet the cell wall is largely mucopeptide and not cellulosic as in the true plants. The equivalents of chloroplasts, nuclei, and mitochondria have their plates and threads lying free in the cytoplasm instead of being delimited by membranes, and most of the enzymes are located near the cell surface. (See the article by Echlin, Blue-Green Algae in Scientific American, Vol. 214, No. 6, pp. 74-81, June 1966.)
Selected Annotated Bibliography
DeRobertis, E., W. W. Nowinski, and P. A. Saez. Cell Biology
(4th ed.). Saunders, Philadelphia, 1965. This book, known in previous editions as General Cytology, is the standard text in the field. It integrates cell structure both on the microscopic and submicroscopic scale with the function of cell organelles. The chapter devoted to plant structures, the sections explaining the use and theory of various instruments for
investigating cell structure and function, and the chapters on cytogenetics are especially good.
Fawcett, D. W. An Atlas of Fine Structure, The Cell. Saunders, Philadelphia, 1966. As the title implies, this is chiefly a collection of photographs, all of them excellent and many superb, of cell ultrastructure. Although it is based on the animal cell, it is placed here because of the concise, balanced, and extremely lucid summaries of each organelle.
Frey-Wyssling, A. and K. Muhlethaler. Ultrastructural Plant Cytology. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1965. An advanced and scholarly text, written by authorities in the field. The introductory portion on molecular biology, while not simple, is comprehensive. In focusing attention on the plant cell, the authors tend to slight cellular structures common to both plant and animal and also tend to present as accepted fact what are basically their own theories of structure. The book is over-priced for its content and format.
Kennedy, D. (ed.). The Living Cell. (Readings from Scientific American.) Freeman, San Francisco, 1965. This collection of articles on the cell from the Scientific American should be in every college biology library. Most of the articles are written by specialists in the respective subjects; all are well written and illustrated, some of them being brilliantly so, Brachet's general survey of the cell is particularly recommend-ed. The articles are available as inexpensive reprints from W. H. Freeman and Company.
Jensen, W. A. The Plant Cell. Wadsworth Publishing Co., Belmont, California, 1964. This small paper-bound volume is written with the undergraduate student in mind. It has a good glossary, and the bibliographies refer largely to articles which can he found in most libraries.
Morrison, J. H. Functional Organelles. Reinhold, New York, 1966. Despite the forbidding monographic appearance of the title, this book is highly recommended as being a very concise and clear discussion of cell structures and their function. Complicated and conflicting theories are stripped to their essentials and the differences and similarities made apparent by very clear diagrams and explanations. The book may be understood by any student with an elementary grounding in chemistry.
Wilson, G. B. and J. H. Morrison. Cytology (2nd ed.). Reinhold, New York, 1966. A clear and balanced account of cell biology, including its history, methods of study, and relations to other fields. Structure and function are well correlated. An annotated bibliography adds to the value of this work.
NEWS AND NOTES
Biological Oceanography Fellowships Available
Stanford Oceanographic Expedition 14 will investigate the biology of the oxygen minimum layer off Western Mexico and Central America during the 1967 spring quarter (i.e., March 27 to June 9) aboard the 135-foot research schooner TE VEGA. The expedition represents an intensive, 15-unit graduate-level course in Biological Oceanography given at sea by a faculty of three. The graduate students serve as research colleagues, not research assistants, in planning, developing, and conducting the research program. Ten NSF Fellowships covering board and room, transportation and tuition are available. Applicants may be of either sex but must be biology majors. The application deadline is January 30, 1967. For information contact: Dr. Malvern Gilmartin, Hopkins Marine Station, Pacific Grove, California, 93950.
Abstracts of Mycology
BioSciences Information Service of Biological Abstracts announces the publication of a monthly abstract journal, "Abstracts of Mycology." Beginning in January 1967 the
first of three trial issues of this journal will be circulated to individual scientists with known interests in this specialized field of study. The three-month trial or announcement phase is expected to indicate in general the value of such an information tool to individuals in a limited subfield of a major discipline and to ascertain in particular whether the users of mycological information will be receptive to this customized type of information service.
"Abstracts of Mycology" will make available all abstracts dealing with fungi which now appear in the semi-monthly "Biological Abstracts," which in 1967 is scheduled to include some 125,000 abstracts. Literature in 6,900 journals emanating from ninety-one countries provides the source for this material. The new mycology journal will represent studies of fungi in all subfields of biology including biochemistry, cytology, genetics, microbiology, and pathology. A sample survey of 18 issues of "Biological Abstracts" published in 1963 revealed a total of 3,170 abstracts of mycology papers from 651 different journals. It is expected that in 1967 at least 5,000 mycology abstracts will be available for publication.
Publication of this journal is being undertaken after consultation with and on the advice of a committee of leading U.S. mycologists, chaired by Dr. Chester R. Benjamin, President of the Mycological Society of America.
The abstracts will be printed within 3" x 5" frames, on one side of the page only, three frames per page forming a 5" x 9" page. This format is designed especially for individuals who maintain a personal reference file of abstracts pertinent to their interests. An Author Index, Biosystematic Index and Subject Finder will accompany each issue of "Abstracts of Mycology." A Cumulative Author, Biosystematic and Subject Index will be provided.
"Abstracts of Mycology" subscription rate will be $30.00 per year; however, the introductory price for 1967 is $22.50. For additional information, or to order a subscription, please address: "Abstracts of Mycology," Professional Services and Education Department, BioSciences Information Service of Biological Abstracts, 2100 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103, U.S.A.
The New University of Michigan Botanical Gardens
On May 1, 1966, the buildings of the new University of Michigan Gardens were completed. Located on rolling land four miles from the main campus in Ann Arbor, it includes the following features: sixteen office-laboratories for staff and researchers; three classrooms; two greenhouses for instructional purposes; three greenhouses for research and Gardens projects; a large demonstration conservatory; a controlled-environment building; and an auditorium seating 160 persons. The Gardens were planned and developed by A. Geoffrey Norman, the buildings designed by Alden B. Dow, and the grounds landscaped by Charles W. Cares. The new facility replaces the smaller Botanical Garden which was used for many years under the direction of Harley H. Bartlett, and which by the middle 1950's had become too small for the expanding botanical activities cf the university. The founding of the new Gardens was made possible by the generous donations of Regent Fred-
erick C. Matthaei, supplemented by university funds and substantial support from the National Science Foundation.
In addition to out-of-door gardens currently being developed (plants illustrating genetic principles, arboretum, wildflowers of the Great Lakes region, economic and medicinal plants), the native areas on the grounds include an excellent diversity of natural ecological situations, among them marshes, bogs, lakes, and creek bottomlands. The flora on the Gardens property, which totals 240 acres, is made up of between 900 and 1,000 species of higher plants, providing sites which are ideal for teaching classes in systematics and ecology.
The major function of the Botanical Gardens is to augment the research activities in plant sciences at the University of Michigan, but its activities are also closely allied with the university's teaching program and with service to the public. Some fifty-five research projects of staff and graduate students are currently being con-ducted, these representing the departments of Botany and Zoology in the School of Literature, Science and the Arts, and projects in the schools of Natural Resources, Medicine, and Pharmacy. The new classrooms were occupied in the fall of 1966 with three courses—Applied Botany, Ecology, and Agrostology, with a total enrollment of 128. In addition to those courses taught regularly on the premises, some fifteen other courses make use of its materials and facilities.
Numerous outside groups, numbering over 100 during the last half of 1966, are guided by graduate student instructors of the Department of Botany. These visiting groups are made up mainly of students (from grade 2 to university graduates), but also include interested citizens and noneducational organizations. Some of the societies whose activities are related to those of the Gardens use the Botanical Gardens auditorium for regular meetings, e.g., Michigan Natural Areas Council, Audubon Society, Michigan Botanical Club, Ann Arbor Garden Club, and the Rose Society.
The members of the academic staff of the Botanical Gardens are also professors in their respective departments of instruction. They are Curators, Professor A. G. Norman and Professor W. S. Benninghoff; Economic Botanist, Professor Erich E. Steiner; Biosystematist, Associate Professor Otto T. Solbrig; Horticultural Botanist, Assistant Professor Edward L. McWilliams; Director, Professor W. H. Wagner, Jr. (all Department of Botany) ; Curator of Medicinal Plants, Professor Ara G. Paul (Pharmacognosy) ; and Professor C. W. Cares, Department of Landscape Architecture. The nonacademic staff comprises the Superintendent, Walter F. Kleinschmidt; the Secretary, Mrs. Patricia Holden; and thirteen botanical gardeners.
Through its interactions with other departments and schools of the university, as well as the diversity of projects being conducted by physiologists, cytologists, systematists, and ecologists of the Department of Botany itself, it is expected that the new Botanical Gardens will play a strong role in maintaining the broad approach to plant studies which has always been traditional at the University of Michigan.
Professor Carl P. Swanson of the Department of Biology, Johns Hopkins University, has been appointed as Visiting Professor of Genetics at Washington State University for the second semester, 1966-67. Dr. Swanson will present a lecture course on "The Chromosome as a Functioning Organelle." He is also scheduled to deliver four university-wide lectures under the general title, "The Natural History of Man."
Dr. Norvel M. McClung, formerly of the University of Georgia, has been appointed Professor of Botany and Bacteriology at the University of South Florida, Tampa. Dr. Marvin R. Alvarez, formerly of the University of Florida, has been appointed Assistant Professor of Botany and Bacteriology at the University of South Florida, Tampa.
Wild Flowers of the United States
On October 10, 1966, Mrs. Lyndon Baines Johnson paid botany a tribute by attending the New York Botanical Garden-McGraw Hill sponsored reception honoring the publication of the first volume of "Wild Flowers of the United States" by Dr. Harold W. Rickett, Senior Botanist of the New York Botanical Garden. The reception was held in the Union Carbide Building in Manhattan and was attended by flower lovers and notables in botany from the New York area.
Volume I of this series covers the northeastern section of the United States from the Atlantic Ocean to Minnesota and Missouri, and from the Canadian border to Virginia and Missouri. Volume I consists of two books handsomely boxed and sells for $39.50. One hundred and eighty plates, each containing six to eight beautifully reproduced, magnificent color photographs, illustrate the species that are covered. Additional line drawings are provided to help the reader distinguish the species of some of the more difficult genera. Volume II is expected to appear during the spring of 1967. It will cover wild flowers of the southeastern section of the United States. In all, five volumes are planned.
Dr. William C. Steere, Director of the New York Botanical Garden, is General Editor of the series. Collaborators include Rogers McVaugh, Robert B. Mohlenbrock, Gerald B. Ownbey, Reed C. Rollins, John W. Thomson, and the late Robert E. Woodson. Mrs. David Rockefeller is Chairman of the Wild Flowers Book Committee. All associated with the project, the New York Botanical Garden, and the McGraw Hill Publishing Company deserve accolades for a job well and beautifully done. Lawrence J. Crockett
University of the City of New York
John Ernst Weaver 1884-1966
The death of Dr. J. E. Weaver after over fifty years at the University of Nebraska terminated a career of teaching and research that affected the field of plant ecology all over the world. Professor Weaver graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1909 and went on to the University of Minnesota to receive his Ph.D. degree. He returned to Nebraska in 1915 and remained there for the rest of his illustrious career.
Dr. Weaver is best known for his studies of the North American Prairie. He published twelve books and over 100 papers. He studied many phases of the ecology of the prairies and plains and developed a number of new methods of studying grasslands. He is particularly noted for his many excellent studies on the root systems of prairie plants. Six books were authored or co-authored by Dr. Weaver on roots including "The Ecological Relations of Roots," "Root Development in the Grassland Formation," "Development and Activities of Roots of Crop Plants," "Root Behavior and Crop Yield under Irrigation," "Root Development of Field Crops," and "Root Development of Vegetable Crops."
Many studies on the effects of drought and grazing on grasslands were written by Dr. Weaver and his students. Dr. Weaver co-authored a text on plant ecology with F. E. Clements which was widely adopted throughout the world, translated into many languages, and is still considered an important reference. Even after his retirement in 1962, Dr. Weaver continued to write and the day before his death he completed proofreading his last book entitled "Fifty Years of Research." Dr. Weaver was a doer, a field ecologist, and spent most of his time collecting and reporting his data and as little time as possible reflecting the importance of his findings. Much of his data was interpreted and used by other people. Many of the conservation practices in the entire grassland formation have been developed as a result of Dr. Weaver's studies.
The amount of research accomplished by Dr. Weaver was enough to fill a lifetime of arduous work but perhaps his greatest contribution was as a teacher. His students are leaders in plant ecology all over the world. He guided more than fifty students through their Ph.D. degrees. Included among these were students from India, the Philippines, Russia, Germany, Canada, England, China, the Netherlands, Romania, Japan, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, Greece, Australia, Hawaii, and Iran; many worked with Dr. Weaver before World War II' when foreign students were relatively uncommon in this country. Dr. Weaver's reputation helped make the University of Nebraska one of the principal centers of plant ecology for half a century. He expected hard work and accurate results of his students, but he was always working hard and effectively with them. One of the fondest memories of his students was of the long walks they took with him for relaxation with the topic of conversation being plant ecology from beginning to end. His classroom lectures were always extremely interesting, enthusiastically presented, and documented by results of his and other current investigations.
One of .his former students, Dr. L. A. Stoddard, wrote "There comes occasionally to every scientific field a man who is so enthusiastic, and so devoted to his work that it becomes his very way of life. To him nature seems to unfold her secrets in response to his devotion; his ability to understand and communicate about nature becomes an inspiration to students and fellow workers alike. Such a man is John Ernst Weaver in the field of American grassland ecology."
Many honors came to Dr. Weaver. He was most pleased in being listed as one of the 100 "starred" botanists in the American Men of Science. In 1950 he was selected as an honorary president of the International Botanical Congress held in Stockholm, Sweden. He was listed as one of the world's fifty outstanding botanists in a book entitled, "Fifty Years of Botany," published in 1959. Perhaps his greatest honor was the acceptance and use of his research findings by most agencies and individuals working with the utilization and conservation of grass-lands.
Dr. Weaver's philosophy about his work is well ex-pressed by his remarks in his book, "North American Prairie": "Nature is an open book for those who care to read. Each grass-covered hillside is a page on which is written the history of the past, conditions of the present, and predictions of the future."
G. W. Tomanek
Fort Haw Kansas State College
Marion Wesley Parker 1907-1966
Marion W. Parker, Associate Director, Agricultural Re-search Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, died suddenly on October 8, 1966, He was born December 4, 1907, in Salisbury, Maryland, where he spent his boyhood. He earned his A.B. degree in Botany at Hampden-Sydney in 1928, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Plant Physiology from the University of Maryland in 1930 and 1932.
Dr. Parker held various positions in both teaching and research in Plant Physiology at the University of Maryland until 1936, when he was appointed plant physiologist at the Plant Industry Station, Beltsville, Maryland. From 1936 to 1952, Dr. Parker investigated the physiology of flowering and seed germination. In 1952, he transferred from research to research administration in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was in charge of the Division of Rubber Investigations from 1952-54, and the Weed Investigations Section from 1954-56. He became Assistant Director of the Crops Research in 1956, and its Director in 1957.
In April 1964, Secretary Orville Freeman appointed Dr. Parker chairman of the Task Force to Study the Training and Scientific Environment of the Department's Research and Education Personnel. In October 1964, he became Acting Director of the Research Program Development and Evaluation Staff. In March 1965, he was appointed Associate Administrator, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Dr. Parker was a member of the American Society of Agronomy, American Society of Plant Physiologists, Botanical Society of America, and Washington Academy of Sciences. He was honored by membership in Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi, Chi Beta Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Phi Beta Kappa. He also took an active part in many civic organizations.
Dr. Parker was markedly successful in both research and research administration. His most significant scientific achievement was the contribution he made to the knowledge of plant photoperiodism. His untimely death removed one who was highly effective in scientific administration. S. B. Hendricks
USDA, Agricultural Research Service