IAPT Councillor and irrepressible New Zealand botanist Dr Ilse Breitwieser has been awarded the 2018 Nancy T. Burbidge Medal by the Australasian Systematic Botany Society (ASBS) at its 2018 "Mind the Gap" annual conference in Brisbane, Australia.
Photo: ASBS President Prof. Darren Crayn with Burbidge Medallist Dr. Ilse Breitwieser
The Burbidge Medal is the highest award of ASBS. First presented in 2001, it was established as a way for the Society to honour those who have made a longstanding and significant contribution to Australasian systematic botany. The presentation usually forms part of the Society’s annual conference and the Nancy T. Burbidge Memorial Lecture is delivered in response to the award.
Earlier in 2018, Ilse was also awarded the prestigious Allan Mere Award by the New Zealand Botanical Society, again the highest national honour in our discipline.
Ilse Breitwieser has made very substantial contributions over many years to New Zealand taxonomy and systematics, in her previous capacity as Portfolio Leader of Landcare Research’s Characterising Land Biota portfolio, as an Executive Member of the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, more recently as a Council Member of the International Association of Plant Taxonomy, and above all as a taxonomist and systematist of high standing. Her professionalism, leadership, and dedication to the field of taxonomy and systematics are exemplary,
To her immense credit, in a period when funding for taxonomy in New Zealand declined substantially in real terms, Ilse's leadership and skillful management sustained taxonomic capability across a range of groups and institutions, built significant plant informatics services including the online Flora of New Zealand, and helped deliver a research programme shaped by both excellent science and the needs of stakeholders.
Ilse is also one of the most engaging, delightful and caring people in our science community. On many occasions her humour, insight, supportiveness, sound judgment, and good company has strengthened, lightened, and made our discipline in Australia and New Zealand more convivial.