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BEN # 252

Adolf Ceska aceska at victoria.tc.ca
Sat Jul 1 14:57:22 EST 2000

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No. 252                              July 1, 2000

aceska at victoria.tc.ca                Victoria, B.C.
 Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2

From: The Ottawa Citizen, Friday June 23, 2000, page F2

Ottawa  scientist  Dr.  Erich  Haber  has been recognized by the
Canadian  Wildlife  Federation  with  the   prestigious   Roland
Michener Conservation Award. Erich Haber, 56, currently develops
databases  and  reports for nationally rare plants, algae, wild-
life areas and migratory bird sanctuaries for the  Committee  on
the  Status  of  Endangered  Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), a na-
tional organization.  [Dr.  Haber's  project  IPCAN  -  Invasive
Plants in Canada - was described in BEN # 181, January 10, 1998.
See http://infoweb.magi.com/~ehaber/ipcan.html ]

Dr.  Haber  immigrated to Canada from Yugoslavia with his family
in 1951. He grew up in Toronto, moving to Ottawa in 1971,  where
he  worked  as  a research scientist with the Canadian Museum of
Nature until 1993. He has  worked  with  the  Committee  on  the
Status  of  Endangered  Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) since 1982,
co-chairing the vascular plants,  mosses,  and  lichens  species
specialist  group.  He is one of the committee's longest-serving

The Roland Michener Conservation Award is given every year since
1978 to an individual  who  has  demonstrated  a  commitment  to

Congratulations, Erich!

From: Johannes Vogel [ J.Vogel at nhm.ac.uk ] - originally
   published in Plant Cuttings, Issue 3, December 1999
   [Posted here with permission]

Polyploidy,  the  possession of multiple sets of chromosomes, is
common amongst plants. It  has  considerable  evolutionary  sig-
nificance  as an abrupt mechanism of speciation as it results in
an instant establishment  of  reproductive  isolation  from  an-
cestral  taxa.  Most  important  crop  plants,  such as maize or
wheat, are polyploids.

Molecular techniques have been used to infer  that  the  genetic
diversity  in polyploids is mainly due to multiple origins (i.e.
the evolution of the same species several times), leading to the
claim that "the multiple origin of polyploids is  the  rule  and
not the exception" (Soltis & Soltis, 1993). However, the quality
of molecular data and the assumptions used for their interpreta-
tion  require  critical  examination.  Indeed,  the evidence for
multiple origins in most allozyme studies is equivocal and other
explanations are possible. Genetic variation in  polyploids  may
be a result of:

 1. multiple (independent) origin,
 2. segregation in hybrid swarms,
 3. mutation, including loss-of-function mutations,
 4. hybridisation and introgression,
 5. gene  flow  from  diploids  to  autopolyploids and segmental
    allotetraploids via unreduced gametes,
 6. random pairing of different  genomes  in  autopolyploids  or
    segmental allopolyploids, or
 7. combinations of the above.

In  order  to  avoid  interpretational  problems, we propose the
following list of _conditiones  sine qua non,_  to  explain  the
genetic variation in polyploids:
 1. Evidence  for  multiple  origin  should  be based on several
    factors and certainly on a combination  of  biochemical  and
    molecular  techniques  with  other methods, e.g. morphology,
    cytology, ecology, breeding  experiments,  biogeography  and
    natural history;
 2. The genetic diversity in both ancestral diploids and derived
    polyploids  should be investigated over a large geographical
    range covering as many populations as possible;
 3. Evidence for necessary assumptions should  be  supported  by
    independent experiments.

Given  this  set  of  requirements,  it is clear that limits are
placed on the types of polyploids that can be investigated effec-
tively.  For more  recently  evolved  polyploids (neopolyploids), 
it is more likely that the  ancestral  diploids will still exist,
so that  studies  of  the natural history,  experimental hybridi-
sation and tests of  breeding  systems  can  be carried  out, and
direct comparisons made of genetic variation and morphology.

Research in the Molecular Biology Laboratory in  the  Department
of  Botany  [The Natural History Museum, London] aims to address
many of the questions raised above.  The  fern  genus  Asplenium
(Spleenworts)  comprises  some  50  taxa in Europe and extensive
cytological   studies   and   morphological   comparisons   have
demonstrated  that half of the European taxa are diploid and the
other half are polyploids derived from  these  diploids  (Lovis,
1977).  Accessibility  of  material  and  invaluable information
obtained by classical methods make Spleenworts a model genus  to
investigate  and reconstruct patterns and processes of polyploid
evolution using biochemical and molecular methods.

At the moment the jury is  still  out  on  the  question  as  to
whether  "the  multiple origin of polyploids is the rule and not
the exception".


Lovis, J. D. 1977. Evolutionary patterns and processes in ferns.
   Advances in Botanical Research 4: 229-415.
Soltis, D. E. & Soltis, P.  S.  1993.  Molecular  data  and  the
   dynamic  nature  of  polyploidy.  Critical  Reviews  in Plant
   Sciences 12: 243-273.
Vogel, J.C., Barrett, J.A.,  Rumsey,  F.J.  &  Gibby,  M.  1999.
   Identifying   multiple   origins   in  polyploid  homosporous
   Pteridophytes.  Advances  in  Plant  Molecular   Systematics,
   Hollingsworth,  P.,  Bateman,  R.  &  Gornall, R. (eds.) Sys-
   tematics Association special volume, pp. 101-117.

From: Adolf Ceska & Oldriska Ceska c/o [ aceska at victoria.tc.ca ]

In spring 1998 I  taught  a  course  on  the  identification  of
grasses,  sedges and rushes at the University of Victoria (UVIC)
as a part of  the  university  Restoration  of  Natural  Systems
Program.  Tim  Johnsen,  a  student in that course, brought me a
sedge (collected at the UVIC campus) that turned out to be Carex
tumulicola Mack. that had not been reported from British  Colum-
bia  at  that time. Once alerted to this species, we found it at
several other locations:

   Victoria, B.C., University of Victoria  Campus;  Gordon  Head
      Rd. opposite of Campus Crescent; 48 deg. 27' 42.25" N. 123
      deg. 19' 15" W. (NAD 83); elev. ca 50 m; July 14, 1999; A.
      & O. Ceska coll. no.: 31,533.
   Victoria,  B.C.;  Rithet's Bog; at the beginning of the trail
      off Fir Glen; 48 deg. 29' 31.9" N. 123 deg.  22'  27.3"  W
      (NAD  83);  elev. ca. 20 m; August 1, 1999; A. & O. Ceska,
      coll.no. 31,566.
   Victoria, B.C.; Uplands park, S edge of a  large  meadow;  48
      deg.  26' 26.6" N. 123 deg. 17' 56", elev. 10 m; August 1,
      1999; A. & O. Ceska, coll. no. 31,574.
   Metchosin, B.C.; Rocky Point DND property;  Quercus  garryana
      stand; 48 deg. 19' 36" N. 123 deg. 32' 27" W.; elev. 15 m;
      A. & O. Ceska & Arthur Robinson, col. no.: 31,525.

Voucher  specimens  are deposited in UBC, duplicates in DAO, UC, 

In the herbarium of the Royal B.C. Museum (V) we  found  several
specimens of Carex tumulicola collected in 1990 by T.C. Brayshaw
on Cattle Point, Oak Bay. All Dr. Brayshaw's specimens came from
two  clumps  at  the  top  of an eroded bank W of the geographic
marker (T.C. Brayshaw, personal communication). We  visited  the
site  in  1999  and  the  two  clumps of C. tumulicola are still
growing there.

In neighbouring Washington State, Carex tumulicola occurs on San
Juan Islands (Fred Weinmann, pers. comm.) and in  a  remnant  of
the  grassland  prairie in Port Townsend (Binda Colebrook, pers.
comm.). It is a sedge associated with Garry  oak  (Quercus  gar-
ryana) habitats.

Carex  tumulicola  belongs to the subgenus Vignea, section Brac-
teosae. The species that belong to this section are  caespitose,
have  pistilate  flowers  with  two  stigmas  and their bisexual
spikes are androgynous, i.e., they  have  male  flowers  in  the
upper  part,  and  the  female  flowers in the lower part of the
spikes. Carex hoodii, the most common relative of C. tumulicola,
occurs in British Columbia generally south  of  55-th  parallel.
Another member of this group, Carex vallicola, has been reported
from  British  Columbia  only  recently  from  the Ashnola River
Valley (Douglas et al., 1998). 

The following key  can  serve  to identify  Carex tumulicola and 
other species of sect. Bracteosae in British Columbia:

1. Beak of the perigynia shallowly cleft, not bidentate;  spikes
   form an interrupted elongated inflorescence
   .........................................  C. vallicola Dewey

1. Beak  of  the  perigynia  bidentate; at least a few uppermost
   spikes aggregated into a head.

   2. Spikes closely aggregated into a  dense,  oblong-cylindric
      to ovate head; scales shorter than perigynia; bracts under
      the lowermost spikes inconspicuous, short
      .........................................  C. hoodii Boott

   2. The  lower  spikes separated from the small terminal head;
      scales about the  same  length  as  perigynia  or  longer;
      bracts  of the lowermost spikes conspicuous, several times
      longer than the corresponding spikes
      .....................................  C. tumulicola Mack.


Douglas, G.W., F. Lomer, & H. Roemer. 1998. New and rediscovered
   native vascular plant species  in  British  Columbia.  Canad.
   Field-Naturalist 112: 276-279.

From:  Rudi Schmid [ schmid at socrates.berkeley.edu ] - originally
   published in Taxon 49 (May 2000): 335. - Abbreviated for BEN.

Barbour, M.G. &  Billings,  W.D.  [eds.]  2000.  North  American
   terrestrial    vegetation.    Cambridge   University   Press,
   Cambridge. ix + 708 p.  ISBN  0-521-55027-0  [hard  cover]  -
   Price:  US$120.00,  ISBN  0-521-55986-3 [soft cover] - Price:

   Available from:
   Cambridge University Press
      The Edinburgh Bldg., Cambridge CB2 2RU, United Kingdom
      40 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011-4211, USA

Although  the dimensions  of editions 1 (1988)  and 2 are nearly 
identical,  edition 2  is  much longer (434 vs. 708 pages).  Re-
vision is thorough, with five  new  chapters (see  the  *-marked
entries  in  the  Contents). The 13 chapters from edition 1 have
"new tables, illustrations, chapter sections,  and  references,"
whereas  all  18  chapters now have "information on habitat loss
and the restoration and preservation programs that are  mitigat-
ing these losses." A definite downside in the new edition, which
is  particularly  inexcusable  in that the price rose to $120.00
from $49.00 in 1988, is the heavier inking of many diagrams  and
especially  the  muddy  reproductions of the photos carried over
from  edition  1.  Nevertheless,  this  is  an  outstanding  and
landmark  book  that  belongs  on the shelf of everyone teaching
even a regional course on community ecology. This work is a fine
memorial to W.D. Billings (1910-1997).

Contents (new chapters marked with  *):  L.C.  Bliss  on  arctic
tundra & polar  desert biome; D.L. Elliott-Fisk on taiga, boreal
forest; R.K. Peet on forests & meadows Rocky Mts.; J.F. Franklin
&  C.B.  Halpern  on  Pacific  Northwest forests; Barbour & R.A.
Minnich on California upland forest & woodlands; K.E. Keeley  on
chaparral;  N.E.  West  &  J.A. Young on intermountain valleys &
lower montane slopes; J.A. MacMahon on warm deserts; P.L. Sims &
P.G. Risser on grasslands; H.R.  Delcourt  &  P.A.  Delcourt  on
eastern  deciduous  forests;  N.L.  Christensen on vegetation of
south-east Coastal Plain; * C.J. Richardson on  freshwater  wet-
lands;  * I.A.  Mendelssohn  &  K.L.  McKee  on  salt  marshes &
magroves; W.D. Billings on alpine vegetation; * A. Velazquez  et
al.  on  Mexican temperate vegetation; * A.E. Lugo et al. on the
Caribbean; G.S. Hartshorn on tropical &  subtropical  vegetation
of  Mesoamerica; * L.L. Loope on vegetation of Hawaiian Islands;

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