BEN # 239
aceska at victoria.tc.ca
Sat Jan 22 11:43:47 EST 2000
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No. 239 January 22, 2000
aceska at victoria.tc.ca Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2
WARREN "HERB" WAGNER (1920-2000)
From: W.R. Anderson & the ASPT web site:
[Reprinted with permission.]
Warren H. Wagner, Jr. (known affectionately to all as Herb) died
on 8 January 2000; he was in his eightieth year. He was probably
the best-known botanist ever to work at the University of
After Navy service in the Pacific during World War II, Wagner
did his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley, spent
one year at Harvard as an instructor, and came to the University
of Michigan as Assistant Professor of Botany in 1951. His
primary research focus was the systematics, hybridization,
evolution, and evolutionary history of ferns and fernlike
plants, but his interests went far beyond ferns, to include
(among many other things) oaks and other difficult groups of
flowering plants, butterflies, and minerals. His energy was
boundless and his enthusiasm famously contagious, which made him
one of the most successful teachers of both undergraduates and
graduate students in the University.
After retirement he continued to participate in the teaching of
courses in plant systematics in both Biology and Natural
Resources; indeed, he taught more in retirement than many
younger colleagues ever do. He chaired or co-chaired 45 doctoral
committees and served as a member of over 240 graduate com-
mittee. He served a term as director of the Matthaei Botanical
Garden from 1966 to 1971, but administration was never his
strong suit. He had more fun stirring things up and getting
people excited than smoothing over rough places and finding
consensus solutions to little problems that did not really
matter in the "big picture," which was one of his favorite
In the 1950s and 60s, working in collaboration with his wife,
Dr. Florence S. Wagner, he published a series of elegant studies
showing that ferns hybridize freely and that hybridization is a
major source of new species in plants. That idea is now widely
accepted, but 45 years ago it contradicted a dogma that had been
imported into botany uncritically from zoology, and the Wagners'
beautifully documented research helped botanists realize that
the constraints of plants' habits and habitats and reproductive
styles made a different species concept appropriate for them.
Wagner's attempts to infer the ancestors of the Hawaiian fern
genus Diellia, and his desire to teach undergraduates how to
think about evolutionary history, led him to propose a method of
deducing phylogeny that was radical at the time, and with
characteristic missionary zeal he went around the country and
the world exhorting botanists to abandon their traditionally
sloppy approach to the inference of phylogeny and start using
methods that are explicit and testable.
Wagner's success and influence were widely recognized during his
life. His many honors included election to the National Academy
of Sciences in 1985 and the Asa Gray Award from the American
Society of Plant Taxonomists in 1990. He served as president of
seven professional societies, including the ASPT (1966), the
Botanical Society of America, the American Fern Society, and the
International Association of Pteridologists. He was in wide
demand as a speaker to groups of professional botanists and
amateurs, and after the talk he was likely to sit down at a
piano and entertain the astonished guests with lively honky-tonk
playing. He is survived by his wife, Florence, their children
Margaret and Warren, both of Ann Arbor, and two grandsons.
Condolences may be sent to: Dr. Florence Wagner, 2111 Melrose,
Ann Arbor, MI 48104.
IRVING W. KNOBLOCH (1907-1999)
Michigan State University pteridologist Irving W. Knobloch (or
"Knobby", as he was affectionately known) died 27 December 1999
at the age of 92. Born in Buffalo, New York, Knobloch earned
bachelor's and master's degrees at what is now SUNY at Buffalo.
In the 1930s, he was a naturalist and cultural foreman with the
Civilian Conservation Corps for projects in New York's Allegheny
Sate Park. In 1937 he went to a rugged part of Mexico to manage
a copper mine. He became known for identifying new plants and
animals in that region. Knobloch went on in 1940 to Iowa State
University where he received a doctorate in botany in 1942.
Joining MSU in 1945, Knobloch taught biological science and
natural science, then botany and plant pathology. In 1960 he was
president of the university's chapter of the American Associa-
tion of University Professors. After retiring from MSU 25 years
ago, Knobloch was a university and community volunteer.
[This note was originally posted on the ASPT web site; posted on
BEN with permission.]
BOTANY BC 2000 - REYNOLDS RANCH
From: Katie Stewart <camassia at telus.net>
Botany BC 2000 planning is well underway. It will be held from
July 13-15, at Reynolds Ranch (owned by The Land Conservancy of
British Columbia), on the west side of the Fraser River near Big
Bar Ferry. Accommodation and meals will be provided by Big Bar
Guest Ranch, which is an approximate half hour drive from the
ferry. Approx. 40 reservations have already been made for most
of the camping spots, 3 tepees and 4 cabins; there is still a
tepee left for 3-4 people, one cabin space for a woman and a
number of twin-bed and queen size bedrooms available.
Please check with the ranch at 250-459-2333 regarding accommoda-
tion or email info at bigbarranch.com PRIOR to contacting Katie
Stewart at 250-386-4792 or email: camassia at telus.net to
register. Early registration and deposits are required because
we are staying at the guest ranch at their peak season.
Check the guest ranch web site: http://www.bigbarranch.com !
ANNOUNCEMENT: CLIMATE DIAGRAM WORLD ATLAS ON CD-ROM
Lieth, H., J. Berlekamp, S. Fuest, & S. Riediger. 1999. Climate
Diagram World Atlas. Backhuys Publishers B.V., Leiden, The
Netherlands. ISBN 90-5782-031-5 [CD-ROM] Price: US$64.50
Backhuys Publishers B.V.,
PO Box 321,
2300 AH Leiden,
E-mail: backhuys at backhuys.com
Climate diagrams are brief summaries of climatic variables and
their seasonal variation. They were originally developed for
vegetation studies by Walter & Lieth, but they have proven
useful for a wide range of sciences, horticulture, teaching,
etc. In biological and geological sciences climate diagrams have
been used to show the relationship between soils, vegetation and
climate. In agriculture, horticulture, and forestry, they can be
used to indicate the range for certain crops, trees, weeds, or
In the climate diagrams the monthly average temperatures are
plotted together with the total monthly precipitation in the
scale where 10 deg. C of average temperature correspond to 20 mm
of total precipitation. The area where the precipitation line
dips below the temperature line indicates dry season; the area
where the precipitation line is above the temperature line
indicates moist season. The diagrams also show frost periods.
Since all the diagrams are plotted in the same scale, it is
possible to compare moisture, temperature and other environmen-
tal conditions in widely separated parts of the world.
For more information and a demo version, visit the following web
[When you order the Climate Diagram Atlas, please, mention that
you read about it on BEN. Thanks! - AC]
A NEW CD OF NATIVE WILDFLOWERS OF CALIFORNIA Photographed by
Brother Alfred Brousseau F.S.C.
This CD contains the total Brousseau collection of 11,300
wildflowers, 900 mushrooms, 500 tree, and 300 High Sierra
scenery pictures. This CD was made using HTML so can be viewed
by any web browser such as Netscape or Internet Explorer.
In the Home Page you will find buttons to go to the various sets
of pictures. e.g. the first set is that of Native Wildflowers of
California by Latin name. Below this appears the alphabet, each
letter of which acts as a button for the flowers whose latin
name begins with that letter. Click on one of these and up will
come the list of flowers belonging to that group. Each flower
name acts as a button to the pictures of that flower. After
viewing these, you can return to the list by the use of BACK.
Copies of this can be obtained from Brother Eric Vogel, Saint
Mary's College, Moraga, CA, 94575. Since this is a not-for-
profit project, a donation of $20.00 is requested to help pay
the expenses of this project. Make any check out to The Brous-
seau Project. For further information, Brother Eric can be
contacted at the e-mail address of: evogel at stmarys-ca.edu.
P.S. More information about these pictures and about the Brous-
seau project can be found at:
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