BEN # 202

Adolf Ceska aceska at VICTORIA.TC.CA
Sun Sep 13 01:47:57 EST 1998


                                                   
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No. 202                              September 12, 1998

aceska at victoria.tc.ca                Victoria, B.C.
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 Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2
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               DANIEL ISAAC AXELROD (1910 - 1998)

Prof.  Daniel  Isaac Axelrod, paleobotanist in the University of
California, Davis, a Research Associate of  Berkeley  Museum  of
Paleontology,  and  a founding member of the Southern Connection
passed away on the 2nd of June 1998 of heart failure at the  age
of almost 88. He was born July 10, 1910, in New York, moved soon
to  Guam and then Hawaii, where he became familiar with tropical
plants (and surfing on long, heavy  redwood  planks!).  He  then
returned with his family to Oakland, California, where he joined
the  Boy  Scouts  and roamed the Oakland-Berkeley hills with his
life-long friend, Cordell Durrell. Cord played a major  role  in
Ax's  life,  first  in  school  at  Berkeley,  then at UCLA, and
finally by bringing him to UC Davis in 1967.

Axelrod was known  for  his  extremely  careful  collection  and
documentation  of  fossil  floras  from  throughout  the western
United States and  his  stimulating  theoretical  and  synthetic
papers on topics as diverse as angiosperm evolution, climate and
evolution, dinosaur extinction, early Cambrian animal radiation,
Quaternary  mammal extinctions, plate tectonics and paleobotany,
and many, many more.  His  work  always  involved  careful  com-
parisons to modern vegetation, which he studied in many parts of
the  world.  Although  he  was  not  always right, he understood
clearly  how  science  and  the  method  of   multiple   working
hypotheses   worked.  He  was  excited  to  propose  alternative
hypotheses and knew from Darwin (who Ax said had it all right to
begin with) that it was very valuable to do  so  and  to  reject
those  that  failed.  For  example,  in 1963, he had the guts to
publish a paper in the Journal of  Geophysical  Research  called
"Fossil  floras  suggest  stable, not drifting, continents". His
timing was bad, in that the plate tectonic revolution was  about
to  begin,  but  when  it  was  apparent that his hypothesis was
disproved, he quickly reanalysized his data and  fully  embraced
the  alternative  idea  that fossil floras suggest drifting, not
stable, continents! He was a superb scientist!

He began publishing papers while a student at the University  of
California,  Berkeley,  in  1934. His publications were numerous
and continued to the day he died, for he was working on  several
monographs on western North American floras that he collected or
recollected  in  recent years. His work was supported largely by
the Carnegie Institution and  the  National  Science  Foundation
over  most  of  his  career.  He  collected tens of thousands of
fossil plant specimens during this time,  and  recently  donated
them  to  the UC Museum of Paleontology, including a huge number
of types. In recognition of his accomplishments in  paleobotany,
the  Paleontological  Society  presented  him  with it's highest
honor, the Society's Medal, in 1990  (Journal  of  Paleontology,
65:520-523).  It  was  only  one  of  several honors he received
throughout his career.

Axelrod received his B.A. at Berkeley (1933), and returned after
working with the California Forest Service for 2 years to  do  a
M.A.  (1936)  and  Ph.D.  (1938)  on  Tertiary  floras under the
guidance of Professor Ralph Chaney. He  spent  two  years  as  a
post-doc  at the National Museum and the Carnegie Institution in
Washington, D.C. He then joined the service and did photo inter-
pretation for American operations in the Pacific. Axelrod  began
his  academic  career  in  the  Geology Department at UCLA right
after WW II, and moved to the Geology and Botany Departments  at
UC  Davis  in 1967. He served for a year as Chair of the Geology
Department, and did a masterful job. But research was his  call-
ing and he relished it and teaching research-oriented courses in
paleobotany.  After  his  retirement  in  1976, he continued his
studies as if nothing had changed,  going  into  his  office/lab
everyday  to  study  and write. He always arrived about 5 in the
morning and worked until 4 pm. I saw him a couple of months  ago
in  Davis  and  he  told me he had at least "4 major monographs"
that he was working on. His most recent, but not his last, paper
was published in January of this year. He never slowed down, for
he considered his research "exciting and much fun!"

Once I was honored to co-teach ecology at  Davis  with  Ax.  Al-
though  he  only gave a few lectures, the class broke into spon-
taneous applause each time he finished (the only  times  I  ever
saw  that  happen anywhere!). The same thing happened at profes-
sional meetings with his peers. He was  through  and  through  a
paleobotanist (and botanist and geologist) extraordinaire.

   Jere H. Lipps, Professor
   Department of Integrative Biology--VLSB 3060
   University of California
   Berkeley, California 94720 USA

   jlipps at ucmp1.berkeley.edu
   http://ucmp1.berkeley.edu/jlipps/jlipps.html


MOONWORT ALERT: BOTRYCHIUM BOREALE FOUND IN NORTH AMERICA
From:  Drs.  Herb  and  Florence Wagner, University of Michigan,
   Department  of   Biology,   830 N. University,   Ann   Arbor,
   MI 48109-1048

Long confused with the well known Botrychium pinnatum St.John of
northwestern  North  America, B. boreale Milde has been known in
the past from Greenland  and  northern  Eurasia,  especially  in
Scandinavia.  Much  to the surprise, during our study of collec-
tions of moonworts we turned up two collections of this  species
in British Columbia. These are as follows:

Canada, British Columbia: 15 miles S of Valemount, 22 June 1985,
   52 deg. 50' N. 119 deg. 15' W. Gerald Straley, s.n. (MICH)
Canada,  British Columbia: Kootenay National Park, Route # 93 at
   the junction of Marble Canyon Road, 12 July 1980, W.H. Wagner
   80101 (MICH)

This is an amazing discovery and range extension. Moonworts,  in
their  elusive  way,  have  a  habit  of turning up this way, as
apparently sporadic populations,  but  often,  once  recognized,
field  workers  find  that  a  given moonwort is more common and
widespread than previously believed. Remember the situation with
Botrychium pallidum which is now being found  over  an  enormous
range.  [Plants  of B. pallidum resemble B. minganense, but they
are diminutive and whitish. - AC]

The characters can be compared as follows:

BOTRYCHIUM  BOREALE  -  Sporophore  1  to  1.5  time  length  of
   trophophore;  trophophore  broadly or narrowly deltate; lobes
   shallow, angular, with pointed tips; apical  lobes  with  2-3
   segments; lateral lobes on basal pinnae 1-2; segments ascend-
   ing; pinna midribs short, weakly developed.

BOTRYCHIUM   PINNATUM  -  Sporophore  1  to  2  time  length  of
   trophophore; trophophore narrowly deltate  to  oblong;  lobes
   deeper,  with rounded or truncate tips; apical lobes with 4-5
   segments; lateral lobes on basal pinnae  2-3;  segments  only
   slightly   above   horizontal;  pinna  midribs  longer,  more
   strongly developed.

We urge you to look through your collection for specimens of the
true Botrychium boreale. In the field, watch for  this  species,
especially  in  the north and southward in higher elevations. It
is very commonly associated with B.  lunaria  and  sometimes  B.
lanceolatum.  There  are  many  questions that we need to answer
about this plant. For example,  no  one  has  ever  counted  its
chromosomes.   Is   it   diploid?   Does  it  have  any  habitat
peculiarities?


ROCKY MOUNTAIN LICHEN PRIMER
From: Dr Weber <weberw at spot.colorado.edu>

I don't know whether or not I had sent you the info on  our  new
little  book.  It  is  by  James N. Corbridge and W. A. Weber. A
Rocky Mountain Lichen Primer. Univ. Press of  Colorado,  P.O.Box
849,  Niwot  CO  80544  (1-800-268-6044).  6x9,  56 p., 72 color
photographs, ISBN 0-87081-490-7 [paper]. US$19.95 + $3.00  ship-
ping for first copy, $1.00 for each additional.

This is not a book designed to create lichenologists, but it has
been  very  much  needed  here for ordinary people, hikers, gar-
deners, boy scouts, etc. It illustrates 72 of  the  most  easily
recognized lichens. It's amazing to learn how many people wished
for such a thing. Corbridge was our Chancellor of the University
and I seduced him into lichenology.

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