|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 527 May 23, email@example.com||Victoria, B.C.|
I was sad and crying when I heard that Prof. David W. Goodall died. He committed an assisted suicide in Switzerland, 104 years old. He was the greatest of my professional mentors.
In 1953 Prof. David W. Goodall introduced Factor Analysis into the study of vegetation and that work inspired me greatly. In the early 1960's, I applied Factor Analysis to about 45 vegetation plots from alder forests in southern Bohemia. I performed the matrix inversion and extraction of eigenvalues on a 45x45 similarity coefficient matrix by hand, with the help of Bulgarian made "electronic calculator" ELKA.
I got exhausted after the extraction of the first axis. That axis was obviously correlated with moisture of the sampled stands. Surprise for me was a strong positive correlation between water loving yellow iris, Iris pseudacorus, and dryland raspberry, Rubus idaeus. Explanation was easy. Both plants occurred only in those alder forests that had well developed hummocks. Iris grew at the water pools, and the raspberries on the hummocks that were formed at the base of the alder trees.
In Prague, the access to any computer technology was almost impossible in the early 1960's. When I got a fellowship offer from the University of Victoria (BC, Canada), I accepted it. I had in mind then the recent works of David W. Goodall and Pierre Dagnelie. I wanted to get an easier access to the computer technology and in Canada, the University of Victoria IBM System/360 became my sanctuary.
Shortly after we arrived to Victoria, Prof. Goodall had a seminar at the UBC in Vancouver. Hans Romer (at that time also a UVIC graduate student) took me there to meet him.
The seminar started in a strange way. Somebody brought a slide projector and plugged it into an electrical outlet. Short bang and the outlet was dead. The assistant, who organized the talk, plugged it into a next outlet, with the same result.
"lus," I remarked in low, vulgar Czech. "Ja, ein Kurzschluss," answered Hans in literary German.
After yet another one or two bang, they brought a new projector and fixed the breakers.
Prof. Goodall's seminar was successful. After the seminar I introduced myself to him. He knew my two papers on similarity coefficients and had to remember me especially for my second paper that was written in total gibberish that nobody was able to understand. We had a small talk and Prof. Goodall was playing with a button of his jacket. We both lost our line in the moment when the button became loose, and the twisted off button remained in between his fingers.
The second time we met was at the 1997 International Association of Vegetation Science (IAVS) meeting in Ceské Budejovice, Czech Republic. At the very beginning of the conference, I asked my graduate study supervisor, Ing. Jan Jeník, another important person in my life, if he had ever met David Goodall. He never did, in spite of the fact, that they both taught botany at the University of Ghana in Accra (University College of the Gold Coast in David Goodall's time). David Goodall was there in 1952 to 1954 and Jan Jeník about ten years later. It was a strange feeling when I was introducing my two great mentors to each other. It was a real explosion of joy when they got together for the first time.
David Goodall participated in the field trip associated with the 1967 IAVS meeting, on spite of having a knee brace on his left leg. At the end, it was the loss of his mobility and the fear of having to have a constant 24 hours care that led him to this decision to end his life.
He will always be remembered as a great man, and in my case, it was he, who gave me a push to look for an IBM computer overseas. For me, he will always be the man with a loose button in his hand.
See also: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/30/david-goodall-australia-oldest-scientist-to-end-own-life-in-switzerland
At the beginning of the 1975 UBC Fall term, Dr. Vladimir J. Krajina was asked by Dr. Robert F. Scagel, then Head of Botany, if he would give a series of lectures on the Biogeoclimatic Zones of British Columbia to the Botany 426 (Plant Ecology I) class. At the time, Dr. Krajina was Professor Emeritus of Botany, having retired in 1970 but still actively engaged in refining and promoting the two programs that would become his legacy - the Biogeoclimatic zonal system, which he developed during the 1950s and '60s, and the Ecological Reserves program, which had recently (1971) received formal recognition by Order-in-Council of the BC Legislature. Dr. Krajina agreed to this request and recorded his lectures on cassette tapes so that they could be passed along to the newly hired plant ecologist, Gary Bradfield, who would be taking over the teaching in Botany 426 later in the Fall term. This arrangement was made as Gary Bradfield was unable to arrive at UBC until October 1975 as he was working on his PhD thesis in Australia. Under this arrangement, Botany 426 could start on schedule in September, and Dr. Krajina's recorded lectures would provide David Bradfield with a first-hand account of the material covered in the course prior to his taking over in October.
These recordings provide a glimpse into the mind and personality of one of British Columbia's greatest environmental educators and champions of forest conservation and habitat protection. The lectures are a series of slide talks where Dr. Krajina takes the Botany 426 class on visual excursions to areas in the province that exemplify different biogeoclimatic zones as defined by climate, geology (primarily the soil, or 'edaphic' conditions of an area) and vegetation, the latter characterized by plant species composition and growth of the dominant tree species.
By today's (i.e., early 21st century) standards, Dr. Krajina's lectures would be considered quite challenging in the amount of information presented to students in an undergraduate class. As an eminent field botanist and ecologist, Krajina spoke in the language of his subject, using Latin names of the numerous plant and fungal species shown in his slides. His commanding oratory and Czechoslovakian accent, combined with his occasional rants on the misguided actions or shortsightedness of others (mainly some unnamed foresters and politicians) meant that his lectures were rarely boring.
The recordings also capture the 'essence' of Krajina, from the energy and passion in his voice to his physical presence through the sounds of his footsteps on the lecture platform and his writing on the chalk-board when he occasionally paused to spell-out the Latin name of a plant or fungal species illustrated in his slides.
It is truly a privilege to have these recordings of someone who played such a pivotal role in laying the scientific foundation for nature conservation and management in British Columbia during the 20th century. Dr. Krajina's legacy lives on through the many Ecological Reserves (150 at the time of writing) established throughout the province, one of which bears his name, and the Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification (BEC) system that continues to provide scientific guidance for managerial decisions on BC's forests and grasslands.
The original recordings were made by Dr. Krajina on three, double-sided cassette tapes, each side containing approximately 60 minutes of his lectures. The tapes were digitized and transferred to CDs by UBC AudioVisual Services, and subsequently converted to mp3s by G. Bradfield. Link to the recordings: https://open.library.ubc.ca/search?q=%22krajina%22&collection=archivesav
It was almost 40 years ago when Oluna and I "discovered" this area.
In the late 1970's, Oluna was a trout fishing addict and we were going to Weeks Lakes whenever we had any free time. On one of our fishing trip, Oluna noticed open areas that were across the Koksilah River from the logging operations we had to drive through.
We gave up on fishing and went to explore open areas of Eagle Heights. Our first major exploration of this area was on May 20, 1978. That was the day when we collected a large number of rare species. The most prominent among them was Githopsis specularioides, "common bluecup". We knew "common bluecup" from the 1927 collections of this species from Empress Mountain & Sooke Hills made by Reverend Robert Connell. In 1977, the year before our Eagle Heights find, we found this species on Jocelyn Hill, Empress Mountain, and Buck Hill. For us, Githopsis specularioides was a good indicator of "special places" and we started to push for the Eagle Heights protection.
We were organizing several trips there with the Victoria Natural History Society. On one of those trips, I first met Terry Taylor and Gary Shearman, both were living in Vancouver at that time. We helped to organize a trip with the prominent Pacific Northwest mycological group, the so-called Key Council. On that expedition led by Prof. Joe Ammirati from the University of Washington we found several mushrooms which turned out to be new, yet undescribed species (e.g., Cortinarius subfloccopus & Inocybe chondroderma). Toby Spribille (now a lichenologist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton) organized a bryophyte workshop led by Prof. Wilf Schofield.
At the late 1990's, Hans Roemer, when he was seconded to the Conservation Data Centre, made a detailed survey of the "pocket grasslands" on Eagle Heights. We (Hans, Oluna and I) produced a detailed report, more or less an ecological reserve proposal, where we collected all the botanical and ecological information we had at that time about this area. Donald Webb, who lived close to the Koksilah River was a great help to Hans and us when he shared his knowledge and experience with us. He was heartbroken when he witnessed the logging of a great part of Eagle Heights. That logging was Okayed by the BC Provincial Parks, the same institution that is supposed to manage it now as the newest park acquisition.
I am curious to see what has been included into this new park area. I hope that the area was drafted in such a way that it protects all the important sites of rare plants and ecosystems. Our original proposal was to establish an ecological reserve there. That was in the time when the Ecological Reserves Program had the Advisory Committee with over 15 university professors who were deciding about the managing individual ecological reserves. That committee was dissolved in the mid 1980's and now all the projects are being approved by a local administrator. In the case Koksilah/Eagle Heights management, it would be the same administrator who allowed massive killing of Douglas-fir trees in the Mount Tzuhalem Ecological Reserve. Let's pray that nothing similar happens in this new park acquisition!
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BEN is archived at http://www.ou.edu/cas/botany-micro/ben/