ISSN 1188-603X

No. 555 February 24, 2021 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, 1809 Penshurst, Victoria, BC, Canada V8N 2N6

MICHAEL G. BARBOUR (1942 - 2021)

From: Marcel Rejmánek & Tom Rost

What comes to mind of an American botanist when the name Michael Barbour is mentioned? Larrea, Cakile, coniferous forests, vernal pools, Terrestrial Plant Ecology, Terrestrial Vegetation of California, indefatigable field researcher, enthusiastic teacher, irreplaceable friend? All of that and much more crossed our minds when we learned that, after a long fight with Lewy body-Parkinson's disease, Mike died peacefully at his home in Winters on January 7. He is survived by his wife Valerie, daughter Julie, son Alan, stepson Steven, five grandchildren and generations of grateful colleagues and students.

Michael was born on February 24, 1942, in Jackson, Michigan. After graduating with BS in Botany from Michigan State University in 1963, he went on to obtain his Ph.D. in Botany from Duke University in 1967. The same year, Michael was hired as an assistant professor in the Department of Botany, UCD. For the following half-century, plant ecology in California has been unimaginable without Professor Michael Barbour. The variety of his research was extensive. He studied almost all ecosystems in the state. After working on population structure and ecophysiology of creosote bush in the Mojave Desert, Michael studied salt tolerance and competitiveness of Californian salt marsh plants, the vegetation of coastal dunes and beaches along the Pacific coast, demography of endemic plants in the Eureka Valley, the vegetation of the Alabama Hills under Mt. Whitney, regeneration of red and white fir in the Sierra Nevada and the northern Coastal Range, old-growth forests of the Lake Tahoe Basin, conifer forests in the San Bernardino Mountains, and vegetation of vernal pools in the Central Valley. His major question was always "What determines the distribution of individual plant species?" and "What is responsible for the uniqueness of particular plant communities?"

Michael's long professional career was not focused solely on California. He studied desert seed banks in different vegetation types in South Australia, morphology and cytology of creosote bush in Argentina, dune and scrub vegetation in Israel, beach vegetation along the Gulf of Mexico, mixed-forests in the Baja California's Sierra San Pedro Martir, the age structure of Quercus pyrenaica woodlands in Spain, vernal pools in Portugal, and population structure of Pinus canariensis stands on the island of Tenerife.

While Michael's research contributions are extensive, his teaching and textbooks also have had a far-reaching influence. Michael taught introductory Botany/Plant Biology, often in partnership with others. To assist his teaching, he co-authored two Botany/Plant Biology textbooks in several editions. The Botany: An Introduction to Plant Biology was the best-selling text on that topic in the US. He also routinely taught an undergraduate course on California plant communities. Students loved this class, and all of them still remember field trips that helped them to see Californian nature in a completely new way.

The graduate course on Plant Community Ecology, taught with John Menke and Marcel Rejmánek, was more demanding. However, students did not complain, and handouts provided in this class are still used as a reference by many. Michael was a leading author of three editions of the textbook Terrestrial Plant Ecology. For many years, this was the only textbook on the subject that was available. He also co-edited Terrestrial Vegetation of California, together with his mentor and colleague Jack Major. With his former major professor at Duke University, W. Dwight Billings, Michael co-edited two editions of Vegetation of North America. Finally, browsing through popular books on California's flora and vegetation co-edited by Michael (e.g., California's Changing Landscapes or California's Botanical Landscapes) will be enjoyed by both lay and professional readers for many years to come.

Michael was awarded the UC Davis Distinguished Teaching Award. For his work with Spanish colleagues, he was awarded an honorary degree from The Department of Farmacia at Universidad Complutense, Madrid, and the Universitas Legionensis medal from the University of Leon, Leon, Spain.

Michael's family has asked that donations in his name could be made to the UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity Herbarium. Gifts can be made online to or by mailing a check to the UC Davis Foundation, in memory of Michael Barbour, 202 Cousteau Place, Suite 185, Davis, CA 95618.


From: Antieau, Clayton

Co-hosted by University of Washington Botanic Gardens and the University of Washington Herbarium, Burke Museum, Seattle, Washington, USA. Sponsored by the Washington Native Plant Society.


This Symposium will be presented online as a Zoom webinar. Scholarships are available for students, service corps members, or anyone in need.

An extensive network of professional, academic, and amateur botanists are actively engaged in the conservation, management, and study of Washington's diverse flora. Their expertise ranges from how best to manage biodiversity, understanding climate change impacts on plant communities, and naming and classifying the flora's rare, common, and invasive elements. Invited speakers and poster presentations will share new insights and discoveries about these topics and more. Participants from throughout Washington and adjacent areas will have the opportunity to exchange ideas with colleagues within and across disciplines.

Attendees are invited to present research posters and announce related news and opportunities on the symposium website. Contributions may include video, text, and images.


Prach, K. & Walker, L.R., 2020. Comparative plant succession among terrestrial biomes of the World. Cambridge University Press.

Despite a century of study by ecologists, recovery following disturbances (succession) is not fully understood. This book provides the first global synthesis that compares plant succession in all major terrestrial biomes and after all major terrestrial disturbances. It asks critical questions such as does succession follow general patterns across biomes and disturbance types? Do factors that control succession differ from biome to biome? If common drivers exist, what are they? Are they abiotic or biotic, or both? The authors provide insights on broad, generalizable patterns that go beyond site-specific studies, and present discussions on factors such as varying temporal dynamics, latitudinal differences, human-caused versus natural disturbances, and the role of invasive alien species.

This book is a must-read for researchers and students in ecology, plant ecology, restoration ecology, and conservation biology. It also provides a valuable framework to help land managers manipulate successional recovery following increasingly intense and widespread human-made disturbances.

Karel Prach is Professor of Botany in the Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, and Senior Research Scientist at the Institute of Botany, Czech Academy of Science, Czech Republic. He has published extensively in succession, restoration, river floodplains, and ecology of alien plants. He is the current president of the Czech Botanical Society.

Lawrence R. Walker is Professor Emeritus in the School of Life Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His research focuses on succession, disturbance ecology, and restoration. He taught ecology, conservation biology, and scientific writing for 30 years. He has published ten previous books, is an ISI Highly Cited Researcher and held the Wilder Chair in Botany at the University of Hawaii (2009-2010).


Peter Raven. 2021. Driven by Nature: A Personal Journey from Shanghai to Botany and Global Sustainability. Edited by Eric Engles. Chicago University Press. 408 p. ISBN 9781935641193 [Hard Cover - Cloth] US$ 35.00. Will be published April 2021. [For sale in North and South America only.]

It's safe to say that few people have lived lives as thoroughly devoted to plants as Peter H. Raven has. The longtime director-now president emeritus-of the Missouri Botanical Garden, author of numerous leading textbooks and several hundred scholarly articles, Raven has been a tireless champion of sustainability and biodiversity, earning him the plaudit of "Hero for the Planet" from Time Magazine.

Driven by Nature is the first chronicle of this prominent scientist and conservationist's life. Moving from his idyllic childhood in the San Francisco of the 1940s to his four decades leading the Missouri Botanical Garden, Raven's autobiography takes readers across multiple continents and decades. Driven by Nature follows the globetrotting botanist from China to the American Midwest as he works to foster concern for a changing planet, further the cause of biological education, and build the Missouri Botanical Garden into the world-renowned haven for plant life it is today. Raven brings his story into the twenty-first century with a timely epilogue that reinforces the crucial importance of scientific learning, active conservation, and commited activism in the face of a rapidly changing natural world.

Featuring an introduction by the Pulitzer Prize-winning naturalist E. O. Wilson, this beautifully illustrated book should thrill nature lovers, plant enthusiasts, and environmentally-conscious readers looking to take action to preserve our planet's biodiversity.

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