Kew Scientist - October 1995: Issue 8
October 1995: Issue 8

Welcome to the third edition of Kew Scientist to be made available on the Internet. If you have any comments or suggestions, please email them to Dr Geoff Kite.
Features in this issue:

Director's Message: Information Services

On 1 August 1995 Kew formed a new department, the Information Services Department. This new unit will bring together many activities that were dispersed amongst various different departments. It includes the Library, the Media Resources Section, scientific publications, the manuscript preparation part of the typing pool, the Computer Section, and the registry and archives, all of which provide information services both internally and externally. The new Department will build on our existing information services and databases by focusing on flexibility, multiplicity of use and improved accessibility in as many forms of media as appropriate. Its creation will enable us to develop further our plans to create a global centre for plant information. This is for the purpose of making readily available as much information as possible from Kew's extensive collections. Following the spirit of the Convention on Biological Diversity, drafted at the 'Earth Summit' in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and now ratified by 119 nations, the new Department will enable us better to make our information available to the countries from where our collections come.

In order to give the new Department a good start I have asked Professor Gren Lucas to head it for its initial year rather than retire from Kew when he was due to relinquish his post as Keeper of the Herbarium in December. Professor Lucas took up his new position in August and can be contacted for any details about his new charge. The Information Services Department brings together several high quality activities that should be more closely linked. Because of the recent developments in information technology we are now able to use our data in so many different ways and the new Department is helping to prepare us for future developments. More information about our activities is now available through the Internet on Kew Web.

Contact Prof. Ghillean T. Prance, Director

Email: Ghillean Prance

Knighthood For Director

Kew's Director, Prof. Ghillean Prance, received a Knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours. He was named a Knight Bachelor on the Prime Minister's list for his scientific services to conservation. Sir Iain said he regarded the honour as 'recognition of the leading role of RBG Kew in conservation, and of the work of all of its staff towards preserving the worldwide treasury of plants for future generations.'

Ministerial Visit

The Rt Hon. the Baroness Chalker of Wallasey, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Minister for Overseas Development, and Andrew Bennett, Chief Natural Resources Adviser of the Overseas Development Administration (ODA), visited Kew on 23 August 1995 to see the progress being made on joint Kew/ODA projects.

New Scientific Publications

This issue of Kew Scientist includes news of six books written or edited by Kew staff (and mostly published by Kew) that have been produced in the past six months. For further information, or to order copies, write to Dr Mike Lock at Kew (some can be ordered through the Internet).

British Gasteriod Fungi

British Puffballs, Earthstars and Stinkhorns (by D. N. Pegler, T. Læssøe & B. M. Spooner) has just been published by Kew. All 74 species recorded in Britain are described and illustrated with colour photographs, many for the first time. Descriptions of diagnostic microscopic characters are supported by line drawings, and distribution maps have been generated electronically from the British Mycological Society database of records. No comparable modern illustrated account of the gasteroid fungi is available anywhere in the world.

Handkea excipuliformis ,a common British gasteroid fungus

ISBN 0 947643 81 9. Price: £30.

Contact Dr David Pegler (0181-332 5257)

Email: David Pegler

Flora Of The Pico Das Almas

A copy of the Flora of the Pico das Almas (Ed. B. Stannard) was presented to the Brazilian Ambassador, Rubens Antonio Barbosa, at the launch of the book on 7 August 1995. The Flora describes approximately 1,100 species of vascular plants from a single mountain in central Bahia, E Brazil, that was almost unknown botanically until the early 1970s when botanists from Kew and Brazil started collecting there. About 130 species new to science have been discovered on the mountain.

Brian Stannard (right) and the Brazilian Ambassador with copies of the new flora

ISBN 0 947643 76 1. Price £36.

Contact Contact: Brian Stannard (0181-332 5432)

Email: Brian Stannard

Poisonous Plants CD-ROM

Poisonous Plants in Britain and Ireland (formerly PLATO) will be published by HMSO on 4 October 1995. This interactive identification system is the result of collaboration between Kew and the Poisons Unit of Guy's & St Thomas' Hospital Trust and is available in two versions tailored for the needs of medical professionals and the general public.

Contact: Dr Liz Dauncey (0181-332 5699)

Email: Liz Dauncey

Nuclear DNA Amounts in Angiosperms

A new list of genome sizes in 1,107 species, compiled by Prof. Michael Bennett and Dr Ilia Leitch (Annals of Botany 76, 113-176), was published in August 1995 as the third supplement to Bennett and Smith (Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. B. 274, 227-274, 1976). Genome size data for over 2,500 species (1% of angiosperms) are now known.

Contact: Prof. Michael Bennett (0181-332 5311)

Email: Mike Bennett

Kew Scientist

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB.

Tel: 0181 332 5000 Fax: 0181 332 5310

Editor: Prof Mike Bennett

Production Editor: Dr Geoff Kite

Editorial Advisory Team:

Herbarium: Dr P. Cribb, D. Field, Dr G. Lewis, E. Cowley, N. McGough, Dr N. Hind

Jodrell Laboratory: Prof M. Bennett, Dr P. Rudall, Dr M. Chase, Dr G. Kite, Dr R. Probert

Living Collections: M. Maunder, Dr M. Fay, A. Jackson, M. Sinnott

Internet Editor: Tony Cox (Jodrell Laboratory)

Published twice yearly in April and October

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