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BEN # 256

Adolf Ceska aceska at victoria.tc.ca
Mon Sep 11 08:21:36 EST 2000

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No. 256                              September 11, 2000

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

From: Jim Ginns <ginnsj at telus.net>

D.  B.  O.  Savile,  botanist,  mycologist,  plant  pathologist,
ornithologist, all-round naturalist and Fellow Royal Society  of
Canada,  died  in  Ottawa  on 1 August, 2000. Doug was an extra-
ordinary individual with an unusually broad range of  interests.
I  first  met him in 1969 when I joined the National Mycological
Herbarium of Canada, then a  part  of  the  Plant  Research  In-
stitute,  later to become the Biosystematics Research Institute,
of Canada Department of Agriculture, Ottawa. Among his mycologi-
cal colleagues at the time were Ibra L. Conners,  Mary  Elliott,
J.  Walton  Groves,  Stanley  J.  Hughes, Mildred K. Nobles, and
Luella K. Weresub. The mycologists usually met  for  coffee  and
Doug often held forth on the topic(s) of the moment. His ability
to  speak, in detail, on a broad range of natural history topics
was "awesome." As one colleague put it "For me  he  was  one  of
those  chaps that made you appreciate how little you really knew
(and this is always a good lesson for anyone to learn!!)."

Doug was born in Dublin, Ireland on July 19, 1909. Early school-
ing was at Weymouth College in England. He moved  to  Canada  in
1928  and  in  1933  received a B. Sci. in Agriculture from Mac-
donald College, Quebec, in 1934  he  received  a  M.  Sci.  from
McGill  University;  and  in  1939  was  awarded a Ph.D., having
studied under the mycologist  Professor  E.B.  Mains,  from  the
University  of  Michigan. He joined the research division of the
Canada Department of Agriculture in 1932 as a student  assistant
on  the  Fireblight (a bacterial disease) project at Abbotsford,
Quebec. From 1941 to 1945  he  served  in  the  Aero-Engineering
Branch  of the Royal Canadian Air Force. His professional career
was spent with the Department of Agriculture and at the time  of
retirement  he  was at the highest scientific level of Principal
Research Scientist. He was assistant curator of the  mycological
herbarium  (DAOM)  from  1943  to 1953, and curator from 1954 to
1967. After retiring in July 1974 he was appointed  an  Honorary
Research Associate.

Doug's  botanical  interests were so closely integrated with his
mycological research that they might  be  overlooked.  In  1953,
however,  Jim  Calder  and he began a systematic coverage of the
flora of British Columbia. This inevitably  led  Calder,  Savile
and  Roy  Taylor to the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1957 and sub-
sequently the completion of three papers, co-authored  with  Jim
Calder,  on  the  taxonomy  of  the Saxifragaceae. He and Calder
cooperated on a note on the flora  of  Chesterfield  Inlet,  and
another  on  the phylogeny of _Carex_ in the light of parasitism
by the smut  fungi.  Another  paper  documented  the  splash-cup
dispersal mechanisms in _Chrysosplenium_ and _Mitella_. His 1972
book  "_Arctic  adaptations  in  plants_"  brought  together his
careful observations from the field trips to the Canadian arctic
in 1950, 1958, 1959, 1960, and 1962. It has been termed a  clas-
sic  in  arctic  biology.  Finally there is Doug's 1962 handbook
intended  for  amateur  and  professional  botanists  (including
mycologists)   titled   "_Collection   and   Care  of  Botanical
Specimens_". Doug's thoroughness and attention  to  detail  made
this  booklet an extremely useful aid for collectors, as well as

Mycologically, Doug worked primarily with  the  parasitic  fungi
known  as  rusts and smuts. His research treated taxonomy, ecol-
ogy, phylogeny, co-evolution of host plants and their parasites,
use of parasites  to  decipher  host  plant  relationships,  and
biogeographic  history of Canadian plants. Later he was involved
in developing the use  of  rust  relationships  as  a  guide  to
taxonomic   relationships  and  comparative  chronology  of  the
various  groups  of  grasses.  Doug  Savile  was  a   consummate
naturalist writing papers on many subjects, such as meteorologi-
cal  phenomena,  flight  capabilities  of _Archeopteryx_, flight
mechanisms of swifts and  hummingbirds,  and  the  function  and
convergence  of  biogeography. Doug was an avid bird-watcher and
student of bird biology in the decades prior to 1970.

The significance of Doug's research  contributions  to  Canadian
botany and mycology both at the Canadian and international level
have been acknowledged in several ways. He was elected in 1966 a
Fellow  of the Royal Society of Canada. In 1976 Doug was awarded
the prestigious George Lawson Medal by  the  Canadian  Botanical
Association.  In  1978 he received an honorary Doctor of Science
degree from McGill University  and  in  1980  he  was  voted  an
Honorary  Member  of  the  Ottawa  Field-Naturalists'  Club. The
Mycological Society of  America  elected  Doug  a  Distinguished
Mycologist in 1988. He had been a member since 1938.

For a partial list of his published papers see

From: Adolf Ceska [aceska at victoria.tc.ca]

I  met  Dr.  Doug  Savile  at the Canadian Botanical Association
meeting in Ottawa (1979), at their official 'icebreaker', a dull
Sunday evening wine and cheese affair. As my wife  Oluna  and  I
were  looking  about  for  a  familiar face, the door opened and
Oluna's closest schoolmate from Prague,  Vera  Holubova-Jechova,
entered  the room. Bystanders did not know what was happening as
Vera started to shout our names  and  we  embraced,  kissed  and
jumped  up and down. The ice was broken. Vera was a guest of Dr.
Stanley Hughes, a mycologist from  the  Biosystematics  Research
Institute and a colleague of Dr. Savile.

When  Doug Savile saw that we were Czechs, he opened his arms to
us. He started to tell us about his family, referring  often  to
'my  son Norr', and 'my daughter Vlasta', etc. Our obvious ques-
tion to Doug,  clearly  a  non-Czech,  was,  "Why  do  all  your
children  have  Czech  names?"  He told us that when the Russian
army invaded Czechoslovakia in  August  1968,  Doug  and  Connie
Savile  opened their house to several Czech emigrants and helped
them start their new lives in Canada. "I would like to have been
a Czech, if I were not already a Scot", Doug admitted.

One of his Czech adoptive children  became  his  family  doctor,
another  was  a  family  dentist, etc. After the "children" fled
their (actually Doug's) Ottawa  home,  they  all  came  back  at
Christmas  for many years. They were his adoptive sons and adop-
tive daughters. That evening and throughout our entire  stay  in
Ottawa, I felt like I had become Doug's adoptive nephew.

From: Gerry Mulligan [mulligan4520 at home.com]

I  recently  published a key to the Brassicaceae (Cruciferae) of
Canada and Alaska at http://res2.agr.ca/ecorc/cwmt/brasskey . It
can be accessed from the front page by Adobe Acrobat Reader.  It
is the key to 248 taxa in 58 genera of Brassicaceae and includes
the  type  species  of  each  genus, pertinent synonyms, general
distribution, and  information  on  the  native  or  naturalized
status of each taxon.

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