Plant Science Bulletin archive
Issue: 1969 v15 No 2 Summer
PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
A Publication of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.
June, 1969 Volume Fifteen Number Two
Quo Vadis, Botanicum?
William L. Stern
There has been a steadily growing tendency in academic institutions to join separate life science departments into single departments of biology. Such unions are usually brought about in the interests of economy based on the assumption that biological phenomena are universal; ipso facto, it is redundant to maintain courses which are concerned with the same subjects in separate biological science departments. In my opinion this is specious reasoning and it is a myth that there are at all levels widespread and vital and cogent areas of common substance shared, for example, by zoology and botany.
Admittedly, there are some segments of each science where there are similar structures and activities, life processes and concepts. Among these areas of similarity, for example, can be cited cell biology, biochemistry, and biophysics together with certain aspects of genetics, physiology, cytology, and ecology. But, on closer observation we find as many or more differences, requiring as many or more different approaches, between the botanical and zoological sides of these disciplines, as we find similarities. These differences are usually highly significant and pertinent, however, for they constitute the inherent pecularities which separate plants and animals. For example: In genetics, polyploidy is a common feature of plants; it is rare in animals. Incompatibility and the chimeral nature of the seed, phenomena so common in plants, are absent among animals. Plant anatomy is a totally different science from animal anatomy. Animals have no structures approaching the rigid cellulosic cell wall in plants. Higher plants are characterized by indeterminate growth; animals have a definite form and size. Plants are sessile organisms, for the most part, and their experimental treatment in ecological study is therefore very different from that in highly mobile populations of animals. The evolutionary relationships between structure and adaptation in plants and animals is a subject of controversy and it is perhaps best considered separately in these two groups, by evolutionists in botany and zoology, respectively. The details of plant nomenclature and plant classifiction vary considerably from these same subjects in the animal kingdom. Higher plants are, by and large, autotrophic organisms; higher animals are not. And with more time and thought, this list could be expanded manyfold. The important point here is that the thesis which supports the union of botany and zoology because of their overall commonalty, which fosters the study of life at all strata as a series of cosmopolitan phenomona, and which holds that the differences among the kinds of life and life processes are trivial and unimportant and do not deserve separate and distinct recognition, is a deceptive proposition.
As botanists we should be seriously concerned with the administrative and professional bastardization of our science by persons ignorant of the facts of life, for that is truly what biology is about. The present conglomerative trend in the biological sciences is detrimental to each individually and more to the point, it is demonstrably destroying botany by subjecting it to a kind of managerial phagocytosis. A parallel movement, which will not be discussed here, is the continuing emphasis in some sectors of biological academia on what is termed "molecular biology" to the exclusion of both botanical and zoological sciences as valid biological disciplines in their own right.
It might be asked, where is the outstanding teaching and research in botanical science going on today? The answer is, where botanical science is supported by botany departments, not where it exists in biology departments! A 1966 survey by the American Council on Education' (rated on graduate programs and faculty) reported that the top botany departments in this country are at the University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, Harvard University, and the University of California, Berkeley. (Actually, the Harvard University case is very special: There is no botany department there. Much of the botany at Harvard is carried out in the private endowed, independent botanical institutions such as the Gray Herbarium, Arnold Arboretum, Botanical Museum, and Farlow Her-barium, and to a lesser extent in the biology department.) Other outstanding botanical research is being pursued at the University of Texas, Duke University, University of Massachusetts, University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina, University of Illinois, Indiana University, Purdue University, University of California, Davis, etc., etc.
Aside from certain misguided plant scientists, botanists almost universally oppose the fusion of botany and zoology to create departments of biology. They have learned from bitter experience that separate departments of botany pro-duce happier and more effective environments for the
1 Cartier, A. M. 1966. An assessment of quality in graduate education, 131 p. American Council on Education, Washington, D.C.
work of botanists (and probably zoologists) than do departments of biology. The facts show that wherever biology departments have been formed through fusion of botany and zoology, sooner or later the biology department becomes, for all intents and purposes, a zoology department. Instruction favors zoology and undergraduates leave biology courses with a wholly distorted view of biology, terribly skewed toward the zoological sciences. This tendency is also noted in the makeup of departments of biology as it concerns balance of faculty. Table 1 below presents data on the composition of biology departments as it existed in 10 institutions in 1959 compared with the situation today.
It requires no great insight to appreciate that in these institutions, botany and botanists constitute a minor segment of biology programs. An even more pertinent observation is that as the faculty of biology departments has increased over the past 10 years, the pitifully small number of botanists in these departments has grown proportionately smaller.
In 1960, at an Ivy League university, much against the wishes of most of the botany faculty and the department chairman himself, machinery was set up to join the botany department wiith the zoology department. Immediately, the department chairman resigned; shortly thereafter, three of the bright, younger staff members left. (These three have since become eminent botanists, who resigned largely in protest of the fusion and not for other reasons. One of these has since returned to the biology department, but with research facilities in the university's natural history museum.) Since 1960, there have been several retirements among the botanists of this university, no one of whom has been replaced. At this university botany is ignored, rather than "squeezed."
Table 2 was constructed from the course listings and descriptions in the catalogues of the several colleges and universities under consideration. All numbered courses in biology are included. In some instances, it should be noted, this presents a somewhat exaggerated picture of offerings in the biological sciences. For example, at M. I. T., biology courses and their associated laboratories are
listed separately. Another consideration in evaluating the data above is my inclusion of courses listed as "Special Problems," "Honors Thesis," etc. However, I have been consistent in listing these kinds of courses throughout, so, the ratios of courses in the columns of table 2 are still valid. I felt this a better procedure than to exclude arbitrarily any courses in biology.
One of the problems in gathering these kinds of data from bulletins, that is data on course content, is the difficulty of determining the real subject material presented in a given course as it concerns plants and animals. (Certain courses in molecular-type biology would not be claimed by either botanists or zoologists!) There appears to be a regrettable trend toward reducing course descriptions to the title only and in the "Princeton University Official Register," this ultimate has been achieved. In other cases, course descriptions are so obfuscated through the loose use of the word biology, that the reader cannot really determine what kinds of organisms (e. g., plants,
animals, protists) are being considered. It is obvious that the kinds of organisms in which certain phenomena occur are not deemed important by the faculties of these departments. In the case of the biology Iistings in the "Bulletin of the California Institute of Technology, Information for Students," consider the description of Bi. 1: ". . . A course of lectures, discussion and laboratory opportunities de-signed to permit a relatively free exploration of biological topics...." This is the crux of the Cal. Tech. description of "Introduction to Biology." Consider the Williams College first course in biology, "Selected Concepts of Modern Biology. Introduction to energetics and metabolism; the organism and homeostasis; growth and reproduction; the principles of inheritance; biology of populations and mod-ern concepts of organic evolution." One can appreciate from these the impossibility of determining what particular kinds of life are being treated.
Doubtlessly, in some of the courses offered under the biology title, plants are considered. But in gathering the data for table 2 it was impossible to separate the biology courses which are totally zoological from those where both plants and animals are considered, or to determine whether the emphasis is placed on plants or animals, or if indeed, any greater importance is given to one group or the other. However, it is apparent from course descriptions at certain institutions that courses listed as "Biology" are in truth purely zoological. For example, the courses in evolutionary biology at Amherst and Harvard are courses in animal evolution. Biology courses titled "Physiology" are courses in animal physiology and in some institutions this same title is even more narrowly construed to mean bnman physiology. Course offerings in biology at Hopkins are zoologically oriented although the titles do not reflect this. For these reasons I decided to lump courses which are patently zoological with those titled "Biology" under the broad caption in column 2, table 2. It seemed to me a more meaningful and practical way to present these data than to attempt to sort out of biology-titled courses those segments devoted to botany and those segments devoted to zoology.
The consensus among botanists is what wherever a biology department is established, botany always loses out —botany is weakened. Thus, from the botanical stand-point, biology departments have not been a saccess any-where! It has almost become a dictum among botanists: "If you want to ruin botany, establish a biology department"! And they point to Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Cal. Tech., and lately, even to Harvard and Yale.
A most irksome tendency among so-called biologists and some zoologists is to equate Zoology with Biology. One can understand and perhaps excuse the perpetuation of this fallacy among lay people where it is particularly prevalent, but the equation, I think, is intolerable and misleading. A case in point is the recent establishment of a cooperative graduate program in "Evolutionary Biology" by the City University of New York and the American Museum of Natural History. The principal research advisory faculty is made up entirely of zoologists and the program of study is obviously zoological. What prompts scientists to distort the meaning of the science of life into the science of zoology by ignoring botany? There is no need here to belabor the traditional definition and usage of the term biology; it is well established as the study of life—all life—and Lamarck, who first introduced it as a scientific term in 1802, meant it that way.
With the facts and comments above thus arrayed, one can easily appreciate the growing dominance of zoology over botany in biological situations in academic institutions. It may very well be asked why this should always be so. I would not argue that zoologists and other non-botanical biologists are always evil and that botanists are invariably virtuous. I would, however, like to suggest that some zoologists and other biologists do not always understand the nature of botany and more especially the importance of certain unique and special areas of plant science. There is a suspicion among botanists, at least, that non-botanical biologists secretly, and sometimes all too openly, feel that botany is of less importance than animal science. Regard-less of whether these statements are valid, it still remains true that botanists are outnumbered in biology departments. Thus it is in biology departments that whenever an appointment is being considered and whenever there is competition for funds and for space, or for subjects to be treated in courses, there is an unfortunate tendency to make decisions in favor of some area other than botany.
Recalling the basic philosophy which often leads to the establishment of courses in general biology, it usually starts with the premise that plants and animals are fundamentally alike. But, the advocates of biology courses become victims of their own propaganda for they place major emphasis on those areas in biology where the similarities exist and they minimize the differences, or disregard them completely. Thus, little or no time is devoted to the structure and physiology of higher plants or to the survey of diversity in the plant kingdom. This blind avoidance of the differences between plants and animals then extends to the upper level courses where no attention is given to plant morphology, plant taxonomy, paleobotany, mycology, and plant pathology. One has only to look at the biology curricula of Cal. Tech., Johns Hopkins, M. I. T., Princeton, and so on, to see that this is true. Botanists are mystified by this attempt to make biology merely the study of similarities. The question may very well be asked: Are not the differences as important?
The beginning course in biology is an especially sore point with botanists. In a newly formed biology department, it usually begins with an approximately even split with respect to coverage of plants and animals. Gradually there is a shift in the direction of more zoology, usually on the grounds that there are more animals, or that the imagined needs of premedical students requires this, or that- students are more interested in animals. In any event a chain reaction is set off involving less and less exposure to botany, fewer faculty members in botany, less space for botany.
More important, perhaps, than the vigor of animal scientists and other non-botanical biologists to support their own fields of interest (with which I cannot quarrel) often creating this imbalance in biology, is the frequent lack of vigor—indeed passivity—among sonic botanists to support their own science in the face of aggressiveness by well-meaning but naive administrators and by certain over-zealous and equally uninformed zoologists. Some-times, the cause for a decline in academic botany is not
a lack of vigor among botanists, however, but an alarming unawareness of the scientific penalties to be awarded for complicity in supporting the establishment of biology departments. One may guess that this is based, at least in part, on a misunderstanding of botany, the science, by botanists, and its unique and special role in the economy of life. If we as botanists are content to watch the demise of botany without taking an aggressive stand to the contrary, we may consider our action as participatory in bringing about this end just as surely as though we planned it.
I argue here for balance in presenting biology in colleges and universities. I plead for imparting to students the full significance of botany as well as zoology and other biological sciences. But the facts show that a balanced perspective in teaching biology has not been achieved through the realignment of botany and zoology to form biology departments.
Let us take stock of the situation now and reassess our values; let us realize the greater strides to be made by recognizing botany for what it is, a separate discipline within biological science with a significant history, a productive present, and an exciting future. Let us cooperate with other biologists, other scientists, and with social scientists and humanists in advancing with knowledge of life, but in the firm belief that this is best done by advancing botany as an independent, though actively contributing, biological science.
The Use of Visual Aids
In a Plant Anatomy Course
Irving W. Knobloch Michigan State University
We have come a long way from the days of Nehemiah Grew and Edward Charles Jeffrey in our presentation of courses in plant antomy. There are modern textbooks with the latest information, good laboratory manuals and several kinds of visual aids including better microscopes and projectors. Even with these advantages, many of us still lecture, pass out a syllabus and a set of slides and then hope for the best. In some areas of science, we noted that many have adopted a set of instructional media including tapes and projectors. These, together with the microscope, microscope slides and syllabus are placed in carrels as a unit, each carrel serving one student. Frequently, the name "Audio-tutorial" is applied to this modern method of presentation. It is claimed that this method of teaching is superior to the older methods outlined above.
Not wishing to be out of the mainstream of innovation, we have examined the possibility of utilizing some sort of aid not ordinarily used in a plant anatomy course. Heeding the advice of certain psychologists that most of our knowledge is imported to us via our visual organs, we set up units in our laboratory best described as "The tri-visual unit." ` This system consists of a rear-view pro-
* Funds for the projectors and slides were given by the M.S.U. Educational Development Program, and the microscope and exposure meter were financed by the Undergraduate Teaching Program of the National Science Foundation.
jector, a microscope and a laboratory manual. We use the COC Rotator projectors now made by the Graflex Corporation, as seen in the illustration. This type has an inclined viewing screen which can, if necessary, be used for tracing. The entire projector folds down into a small suitcase-sized unit for easy carrying. Presumably other
types of projectors can be used. When the course is finished, all of the units can be taken down and stored, leaving the room free for another type of course. The cost of carrels and their fixed position decided us to use the projectors mentioned above.
At present we have ten of these projectors and they are placed so that two students can use one projector. This is another advantage over the carrel system. For each machine we have three drums, each drum holding 36 slides. Thus for the course in plant anatomy, each student looks at 108 slides.
Several months preceding the beginning of the course, we selected a large number of microscope slides previously used for the course. These were chosen to illustrate the major concepts ordinarily dealt with in a plant anatomy course. Two-by-two color transparencies were then made from these slides by photographing the slide under a microscope fitted with a camera and a Sage exposure meter. Sometimes only low power was used, sometimes both low and high power and occasionally a picture was taken under oil immersion. We now had 2x2 slides of the same slides to be looked at under the microscope. The laboratory manual was rewritten giving the basic concept to be learned, then calling the students' attention (in the manual) to the concept on the 2x2 and then asking them to find the same item on the microscope slide. In most cases, the 2x2's could be explained in their original condition. When a part was difficult to interpret, symbols such as letters, numbers or arrows are drawn upon the transparency (this is not as easy as it sounds).
How many of us have spent most of the laboratory time "running" around from student to student, answering questions or interpreting what they are seeing under the microscope? Good 2x2 transparencies clearly explained and/or marked eliminate most of this "unnecessary" activity.
In summary, we make the following observations:
(1) carrels need not be constructed, (2) each projector serves two students, (3) the projectors can be removed at the end of the course freeing the room for other activities, (4) students can proceed at their own pace, (5) learning is enhanced, (6) questions of interpretation seldom arise with a consequent saving in time either to the assistant or the instructor, (7) the course moves along with alacrity and more materials or concepts can be covered, (8) the projectors can be used for review, (9) although not tried as yet, we feel that this "tri-visual" setup could be used to eliminate the lecture entirely, and (10) this totally visual setup could be used in many other areas such as morphology or taxonomy.
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
An International Conference on Pollen and Pollen Physiology will be held at Washington State University, August 20-23. This conference will be held in conjunction with the Pacific Division, AAAS meetings to be held in Pull-man, Washington the week before the Botanical Congress, and will begin with the AAAS Divisional Symposium ("Pollen Studies") on Wednesday evening, August 20. Plenary sessions of the Conference will be held all day Thursday and Friday, August 21 and 22. Botanists on their way to the Congress in Seattle are welcome to stop in Pullman and attend the Pollen Conference as well as other sessions of the Pacific Division meetings. Dormitory housing can be provided at $4.00 per night single or $3.00 per night double. Registration fee is $2.00 if paid in advance (mail to C. D. Moodie, Department of Agronomy, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99163) , or $3.00 at the time of the meetings.
Other organizations scheduled to hold sessions in Pull-man that week include the American Society for Horticultural Science (National Meeting), American Nature Study Society (Western Section), American Society of Plant Physiologists (Western Section), Biometric Society (West-ern North American Region), Botanical Society of America (Pacific Section), Society of Systematic Zoology (Pacific Section), Western Society of Soil Science, and Section F (Zoological Sciences) of AAAS. For additional information about any of these meetings please write to the Secretary of the Pacific Division, AAAS, Dr. R. C. Miller, California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California 94118.
NEWS AND NOTES
The Isozyme Bulletin
The Isozyme Bulletin, conceived at the second annual Isozyme Conference in 1967, is a publication for the in-formal exchange of information relevant to scientists interested in isozymes at any level and from any point of view. The format is similar to other informal information
exchange bulletins, and it is presently published annually. For further details write: Dr. John G. Scandalios, Editor, The Isozyme Bulletin, Atomic Energy Commission Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lan-sing, Michigan 48823.
Check List of Crosses in the Gramineae
This booklet of 176 pages contains the names of about 2400 crosses and has a bibliography of 1131 titles. It should save many hours of literature searching for those doing research in the grass family. To receive a copy send a negotiable money order or bank draft drawn on U.S. funds for $2.50, and made out to: Dr. Irving W. Knobloch, 336 University Drive, East Lansing, Michigan 48823.
VIIth International Congress of Plant Protection
This congress is scheduled to be held in Paris, September 21-25, 1970. It will follow the same line as the other important Plant Protection Congresses, the first of which took place in Louvain in 1946, the Vlth at Vienna in 1967. Persons wishing further information should write to Societe Francaise de Phyiatrie et de Phytopharmacie, VII` Congrēs International de la Protection des Plantes, 57, Boulevard Lannes, 75—PARIS XVI"—France.
Items of Interest to Conservationists
recently have been involved in court suits aimed at con-trolling air pollution from pulp mills in Montana, the use of DDT in Wisconsin, and dieldrin in Michigan. Dr. Charles F. Wursrer, of the Department of Biological Sciences, State University of New York, Stoney Brook, New York, is the chairman of the Scientists Advisory Committee for this organization.
This record indicates how effective Senator Nelson has been in suggesting legislative solutions to many of our environmental problems.
The Conservation Committee
CEDRIC L. PORTER has retired after 25 years as Professor of Botany and Curator of the Rocky Mountain Her-barium at the University of Wyoming. He has been succeeded by JOHN R. REEDER, formerly Curator of the herbarium at Osborn Botanical Laboratory, Yale University. Dr. Reeder is also serving as Acting Head of the Department of Botany at Wyoming.
JAMES L. REVEAL will join the faculty of the Department of Botany, University of Maryand on August 1, 1969. Reveal has been appointed Assistant Professor of Botany and will take part in teaching in general botany as well as in the development of a series of undergraduate and graduate courses in plant taxonomy. Reveal's major monographic interests are in the western United States genus Eriogovum, He will continue his research on plants of the Intermountain Region of the United States as well as in the local flora of Maryland and vicinity.
WILLIAM S. LACEY, Visiting Professor of Botany at Southern Illinois University 1963-64, has been awarded the degree of D.Sc. of the University of Wales and promoted to the grade and title of Reader in Botany in that university. Dr. Lacey is continuing his teaching and re-search in palcobotany in the School of Plant Biology (former Departments of Botany and Agricultural Botany) at the University College of North Wales, Bangor. In recognition of his active interest in wildlife conservation Dr. Lacey has been invited to serve on the Committee for Wales of the Nature Conservancy (Natural Environment Research Council).
WILLIAM C. DICKISON will become a member of the Department of Botany at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, beginning the fall of 1969. He had been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
JOHN McNEILL of the University of Liverpool, England has accepted a permanent appointment beginning October 1, 1969 as Chief of the Vascular Plant Taxonomy Section of the Plant Research Institute in Ottawa, Canada. Dr. McNeill has been on study leave at the University of California, Irvine, where he will remain until mid-June; between then and the end of August he will be at the University of Washington, Department of Botany, Seattle.
Three new appointments have been recently announced at the University of Alberta. Department of Botany. PAUL R. GORHAM, formerly with the National Research Council of Canada, has been appointed as Full Professor. Dr. Gorham, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada since 196], is especially noted for his work in plant physiology as it relates to the water supplies of cities and range areas. DAVID D. CASS and JAMES M. MAYO have been appointed as Assistant Professors. Dr. Cass, formerly a Lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley, will join the department as a plant anatomist. Mr. Mayo, formerly a teaching assistant in botany at the University of Washington, will join the university's team of ecologists.
GOOR, A. Y., AND C. W. BARNEY. Forest Tree Planting
in Arid Zones. Ronald Press Co., New York. 1968. 409 pages + vi. 515.00.
This practical textbook for land managers is concerned with establishment and care of trees and forests in arid and semiarid regions anywhere in the world. All aspects are covered, including seed collection (with gratifying emphasis on provenance), nursery practice, field planting, types of forest plantations, and choice of species. Perhaps of greatest interest to a botanist are: (1) the cram course on arid zone ecology (chapter 1) which covers climate, soils, and vegetation in a concise but reasonably accurate fashion; and (2) capsule summaries of the ecology and use (in arid zones) of 116 tree species. Some genera are well represented for obvious reasons—Acacia, Cupressus, Eucalyptus, and Pains, for example. Others, such as Tixodiuna distichum, may come as a surprise. Site requirements and seed handling practices are summarized by species in a useful appendix. This is a desirable reference volume for ecologists, horticulturists, and other botanists concerned with arid regions.
Jerry F. Franklin
TRAITI DE PALĒOBOTANIQUE. Vol. 2, Bryophyta (S. Jovet-Ast), Psilophyta (O. A. Hoeg), Lycophyta ( W. G. Chaloner, with the collaboration of E. Boureau).
Edouard Boureau, Ed. Masson et Cie, Paris. 1967. Volume 2 of the Traite is an invaluable work for those who are teaching about, or are starting to investigate, bryophytes, psilophytes, and lycophytes. The mere bringing together in one volume of excellent illustrations of these fossils would be considered a major accomplishment. The extensive increase in our knowledge of these plants during the past quarter century makes it abundantly clear that bryophytes are not "too delicate to be preserved," that Psilophyta includes a wide range of types of vascular plants now known from considerable anatomical and morphological detail, and that the earliest records of Lycophyta reveal most of the basic features found in their modern representatives.
Two features of this volume are particularly significant. One is the attention given by the authors to microfossils. This reflects the rise of research in palynology and it is safe to predict that in future revisions the role of spores and pollen will be substantially increased. The second notable feature is the care with which stratigraphical data are presented. Only when the precise time of occurrence of fossils is known with some accuracy can any safe conclusions be drawn about rates of evolution. Progress in this area is being made steadily and it deserves all the emphasis it can get. For an extensive, modern, synthetic, well-referenced, superbly illustrated account of the geologic history of three major groups of land plants this volume is a "must." It is expensive but the cost must be balanced against the time that would be involved in searching out even a fraction of the information for oneself. No less important is the stimulus to students provided by the opportunity to see so many good illustrations in one source. Some of the illlustrations, in fact, exceed the originals in quality. The authors have earned our gratitude for their arduous labors and the Editor is to be congratulated for his dedication to the task of making all of this available.
Harlan P. Banks
TOUSSOUN, T. A. AND PAUL E. NELSON, A Pictorial
Guide to the identification of Fusarium species. Penn. State University Press. University Park and London. 1968. 151 pages. $5.95.
Anyone who wishes to name an isolate of Fusauiuw ac-cording to the nine-species system of W. C. Synder and H. N. Hansen will find this paper-back, spiral-bound book of real value. Spore characteristics of the nine species and the range of morphological variation exhibition by spores of each species have been beautifully illustrated with 84 high-quality black and white pictures presented in 15 plates. Two color plates are provided to show some of the variation in cultural appearance of each species. Media and temperature and light conditions necessary for sporulation are presented in detail. The book represents an excellent, comprehensive compilation of techniques and procedures developed over the years and which have proved effective in the culture and identification of the fusaria. The authors intend that isolates of Fusarium can be identified, even by the inexperienced, simply by following the cultural procedures and then comparing spores of the unknown cultures with spores from known cultures as depicted.
The authors have restricted their treatise, however, to serve as a guide to identification at the species level only. Identification of isolates to forma specitalis or race is still dependent on pathogenicity tests. The guide includes photographs of spore types of strains recognized in the Snyder and Hansen system as "cultivars," and in other contemporary taxonomic systems as species, but names for these strains are not provided. Nevertheless, anyone wishing to identify an isolate of Fusarium more precisely than is possible through the broad, nine-species concept of Snyder and Hansen will still find this pictorial guide useful. For further precision, i.e. below the species, one must consult other literature. A bibliography of this literature is provided.
Workers unfamiliar with Fusarium and wishing to ac-quaint themselves with the genus, and with the Snyder and Hansen system of taxonomy, should study this guide. The Fusarium worker will likewise find the guide informative and helpful in terms of understanding more fully the range of variation allowed in the nine-species system.
R. James Cook
FOGG. G. E. Photosynthesis. American Elsevier Publish-
ing Company, Inc. New York. 1968. 116 pp. $3.95. As the author points out in the preface, this book is de-signed for the beginning student. As such, it provides an excellent introduction and a general survey of the field of photosynthesis with enough detail to encourage further reading. The book is well organized, starting with a historical account and finishing with future prospects for more efficient utilization of the sun's energy. In addition to its value for beginning students, this book should prove very interesting to research workers concerned with the practical utilization of photosynthesis.
ESAU, KATHERINE. Viruses in Plant Hosts. The 1968
John Charles Walker Lectures. University of Wiscon-
sin Press, Madison. 1968. 225 pages. $10.00.
In this brief, but exceptionally well illustrated book Dr. Esau presents recent and largely unpublished studies on the morphological relationships between two plant viruses and their host cells. Tobacco mosaic virus, a virus that is not selective in its invasion of the host Nicotiana tabacurn. and sugar beet yellows virus, a virus that is dependent upon the phloem for successful invasion of Beta vulgaris, were the subjects for detailed observations on the form and movement of viruses in plant tissues, the relation of virus to various cellular components and the ultrastructural changes that occur in cells in response to infection. Results in the form of 135 excellent electron micrographs are presented and discussed in terms of current theories on virus transport, the loci of virus synthesis, and pathogenesis in viral infections. The detailed description of virus-host relations at the subcellular level makes this book a valuable tool for plant virologists who attempt to interpret results on virus-host relations obtained by physiological, biochemical and biophysical procedures. Further-more, the detail and clarity of the illustrations showing numerous submicroscopic features of the plant cell together with the discussion of normal and abnormal cell
structures make this book a valuable reference for a wide variety of plant scientists. As the book deals mainly with her personal research, an exhaustive review of the literature is not included. Literature pertinent to the theme of the book is utilized effectively as a framework for discussing and interpreting the results presented.
WILLIAM D. GRAY AND CONSTANTINE J. ALEXOPOULOS. Biology of the Myxomycetes. vii + 288 pp. Ronald Press. New York. 1968. $ 12.00.
The Myxomycetes were slightly known curiosities until after World War II. Except for taxonomic treatment, little scientific work had been done with them. Since the War the picture has changed remarkably; Myxomycetes have been the subject of intensive physiological investigations and within the last decade have been studied genetically. Therefore this critical review and distillation of the literature is a welcome aid to the biologist. The review and writing was carried up into 1968 (the year of publication) and the bibliography of over 500 references is one of the valuable features of the book.
The style is clear and the authors maintain a level of technicality which makes Biology of the Myxomycetes available to the advanced undergraduate and at the same time it is a work valuable to the advanced researcher.
For most of its thirteen chapters the plan follows the life cycles of the Myxomycetes. The chapters, in order, deal with spores, the uninucleate stage (myxamebae, swarm cells and microcysts), the plasmodium, the sclerotium, and the sporangium. Each of these phases is fully discussed in terms of what is known of its formation followed by a comparative description of the completed phase in one or more separate chapters (e.g. Chapter 9 "Sporulation," and Chapter 10 "The Sporophore"). The chapter on the nuclear cycle is particularly fine in bringing order into this jungle of conflicting claims on the location of karyogamy in the life cycle and whether or not it exists in all cases.
The chapters on "Laboratory Cultivation and Nutrition" and on "Geographical Distribution and Ecology" are valuable to the researcher who wishes to find and grow his own Myxomycetes instead of depending on the some-what overused laboratory strains of Physarum polycephalu~zz. This highly atypical Myxomycete has been accepted as the type for Myxomycetes—because it grows more rap-idly than any other, is the only one whose nutritional requirements have been fully worked out, and is the only Myxomycete grown in mass culture.
There are very few errors in this book, and these are mostly of omission. Gotrsberger's 1966 paper has " Beitragen" misspelled as "Meitragen." The authors refer to the popular review of the Frys pere et fille of 1899, apparently unaware that this unbearably cute bit of popularization ("the myxies!") recurred as a second edition in 1915.
A more serious omission was the unaccountable ignoring of Zopf's Die Pilzthiere oder Schleimpilze (viii + 174 pp. Breslau 1885) which summed up the physiology, morphology, cytology, and relationships of the Myxomycetes to that time. Zopf cites Kiihne's delightful method of stuffing the intestine of a giant waterbug with powdered dry plasmodium (sclerotium? ), soaking it, and thereby obtaining a plasma sausage. When stimulated electrically, "the wursr contracted, just like a colossal muscle fiber."
I would disagree with the statement (p. 25) "... with one or two exceptions there probably are no special problems attendant on the germination of spores of Myxomycetes in general." The authors make this statement be-cause "a sufficiently representative number of Myxomycetes have now been germinated." Yet with relatively few exceptions (e.g. Reticularia lycoperdon) germination is still erratic and varies from collection to collection. I would agree more with their statement (p. 27) "The question concerning the factor or factors initially responsible for spore germination remains unanswered."
Valuable as Biology of the Myxomycetes is, it could have been improved by a section on the general taxonomy and systematics of the Myxomycetes. The systematic distinctions between the various types of sporangia and plasmodia are scattered through the text, and the nonspecialist is unable to be oriented in the group. In the index of genera and species, well-known synonyms which the authors have rejected should have been listed in the conventionalized italicized form. Thus all those acquainted with the Myxomycetes know Hemitrichia vesparium. Few would think to look under Metatrichia vespariuzn. Al-though H. vesparium is mentioned by this name in the text (p. 9) it is not indexed. These are, however, some-what minor points, and the authors are to be congratulated for bringing such a wide variety of physiological, biochemical, cytological, and ecological material together. Biology of the Myxomycetes is a necessity for anyone doing or contemplating work with these fascinating organ-isms. Arthur L. Cohen
BLANDINO, GIOVANNI. Theories on the Nature of Life.
Introduction by A. Stefanelli; translated by D. O. Corsini Olsoufieff. Philosophical Library, New York. 1969. 374 pages + xii. $6.00.
This is not an easy book to read. Philosophical speculations about life, its origin and purpose, are notoriously difficult to unravel and often impossible to test experimentally. Nevertheless, it is a useful summary of the more important theories about life, from materialism and reductionism to panpsychism and vitalism. It is only by in-direction, however, that the author's own theory is presented. This is summed up as the belief in the "determinism of the vegetative biological phenomena and the noncausalism [sc. of those phenomena]" (p. 6). Unfortunately, this theory is not systematically developed nor are any experimental data offered in its support.
The book is perhaps more useful from the standpoint of the history of biology and as a critique of previous theories. Extracts from earlier investigators, biologists as well as philosophers, provide welcome source material for those interested in the historical development of a complex subject. Jerry Stannard
Dr. Arthur J. Eames, Professor Emeritus of Botany at Cornell University, passed away February 13, 1969 at the age of 87 years. A tribute to Dr. Eames appeared in the Plant Science Bulletin, Volume 13 (4), 1967.