Originally named the Australian Systematic Botany Society Inc., our membership voted on 15 March 2011 to expand our scope to encompass systematic botany across Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, and surrounding islands, rebranding as the Australasian Systematic Botany Society Inc.
Key members and supporters of ASBS
Hansjörg Eichler’s (1916–1992) wide ranging and substantial contribution to Australian plant systematics, taxonomy and nomenclature are well documented. Born and educated in Germany, he moved to Australia in 1955 to become the first Keeper of the State Herbarium of South Australia (AD). In 1973 Eichler moved to Canberra to take on the role of Curator of the Australian National Herbarium (CANB), where he remained until his retirement in 1981. Throughout his lifetime Eichler collected around 30,000 plant specimens. Unfortunately, his first 8,000 European specimens held at the Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem (B) were destroyed during a bombing raid in World War II. Hansjörg was an active member of numerous societies, served on several committees, and published on a wide range of topics, including naming or recircumscribing 88 species. Following his death, his widow Marlies (Marie-Luise) Eichler made substantial donations to ASBS to establish the Hansjörg Eichler Scientific Research Fund in his honour.
Marlies (Marie-Luise) Eichler (1920–2011), a life member of ASBS, was married to Hansjörg Eichler from 1953 until he passed away in 1992. Marlies was a strong supporter of Hansjörg’s endeavors, and of plant systematics and taxonomic research. Following the death of Hansjörg, Marlies donated funds to ASBS to help establish the Hansjörg Eichler Scientific Research Fund to support students in their research. Over many years, Marlies continued her extraordinary financial donations, and her substantial generosity eventually facilitated the establishment of the Marlies Eichler Postdoctural Fellowship, named in her honour in recognition of her commitment to supporting early career researchers in plant systematics and taxonomy in ASBS.
Professor Pauline Yvonne Ladiges (AO FAA) was head of the School of Botany at the University of Melbourne from 1992 to 2010. Professor Ladiges was appointed to a “Personal Chair” at the University of Melbourne in recognition of her scientific discoveries and leadership within the university.
Pauline has published eight book chapters and more than 120 scientific articles in refereed journals of international standing, edited four special volumes, co-authored two biology textbooks for secondary education, and co-edited and co-authored the first substantial Australian biology textbook used in tertiary institutions. These three books have won prizes for Best Australian Textbook and Awards for Excellence in Australian Publishing.
Her research is in the field of plant ecology (predominantly 1974–1982) and phylogenetic systematics and historical biogeography (1983–present). She studies the evolutionary relationships and history of the Australian flora, particularly in relation to the botanical differentiation of geographic areas during the geological history of the continent. Lately Professor Ladiges and her research group have been elucidating the phylogeny of large Australian plant genera, including the eucalypts and acacias using molecular (DNA) and morphological techniques.
Pauline has had a distinguished career which has been recognised by a number of awards including: The Nancy T. Burbidge Medal by the Australasian Systematic Botany Society (2011); Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the General Division (2009); Elected Fellow Australian Academy of Science (2002); Royal Society of Victoria 2005 Research Medal (biological sciences, non-human); Australian Centenary Medal (2003).
To honour Pauline’s dedication to teaching, students and systematics ASBS established the Pauline Ladiges Prize to be awarded to the best oral presentation by a student at an ASBS conference.
Dr Robert (Bob) John Anderson (1952–2012), was a scientist who was passionate about plant systematics and environmental conservation, and a long-time member of ASBS. He completed a PhD at La Trobe University focusing on the chemotaxonomy of Correa (Rutaceae), later joining the University of Ballarat as a lecturer. Bob subsequently moved to Adelaide and worked with Kinhill Pty Ltd and continued to collect many herbarium specimens during survey work with the company and in his own time. He was a valued mentor to his colleagues and sustained a life-long interest in botany. Following Bob’s passing in 2012, his sister Rosemary Baxter made a generous bequest in Bob’s name. This award is offered to support students from developing countries in the Australasian region.