The 7th International Legume Conference was held in Sendai, Japan this week. The legume conferences are well known for their informal atmosphere with diverse research subjects in many areas of legume biology and evolution.
There were two very special sessions at the conference this week. One was devoted to legume morphology and was dedicated to the amazing career of Dr. Shirley Tucker (Louisiana State University, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden). Shirley studies floral development in legumes (and other families) and made many important contributions over her long career. But in addition to her science contributions Shirley also has made many important contributions to the legume community through her generosity, sharing ideas, materials, and most importantly, her skills by training students and others in floral development techniques. The other special session was dedicated to recognizing the remarkable career of Dr. Gwilym Lewis (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew). In addition to his numerous publications, Gwil has trained many students, postdocs, and colleagues in legume taxonomy, field work, and herbarium curation. Gwil has also made many contributions to the legume community, the most important being his leadership in helping to establish the Legume Phylogeny Working Group. The LPWG embodies the open, sharing, collaborative approach to science that both Shirley and Gwil have demonstrated over many years. The International Legume Conference was a great opportunity to recognize and thank two very important members of our community. Students looking for a plant family with interesting research opportunities in a wide range of topics should investigate the legume family and the LPWG.