ISSN 1188-603X

No. 532 February 15, 2019 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, 1809 Penshurst, Victoria, BC, Canada V8N 2N6


From: Jeanne Ross email: Accompanying Plate:

Arthur Gordon Guppy was born and raised in Tofino, BC. His father was Florian Lechmere Guppy, was born in Trinidad, was the son of the Lechmere Guppy who was responsible for the name of the "guppy fish". Florian later became a British magistrate in colonial India. Art's mother, Winnifred Guest, was born just west of London, England, and her father was a railroad engineer and artist. Florian and Winnifred emigrated to Tofino in 1921 as a result of Florian's desire to find a place a long way from India, which he had hated. Art was a 'late' child, with four brothers and an older sister, with the next-oldest sibling being six years his senior.

His early adventures exploring the sea, intertidal area, and land around Tofino resulted in a life-long enjoyment and appreciation of the natural world. He entered a high school competition for best insect collection, but was disqualified for having a Monarch butterfly labelled as having been caught in his mother's garden in Tofino, because it was considered 'impossible' for it to occur there. The injustice of being accused of cheating rankled for the rest of his life; the Monarch specimen is preserved in the collection of his son Cris and is still the only record of the species for Tofino.

Art's occupation was high school teacher in Burnaby, especially English literature and geography. But it was his love of nature that drove his leisure activities, with the summer breaks from teaching including numerous camping trips to explore the outdoors. His boyhood interest in insects was replaced by a passion for wild flowers, and he became a knowledgeable amateur botanist. He collected 'choice' wild plants for his North Vancouver garden, and he and his wife Peggy (née Lola Simmons) were active in the Vancouver Alpine Garden Club. Peggy and his three children accompanied him on his wildflower explorations, and also came to love nature. He eventually found that he no longer enjoyed teaching and retired early in 1973.

In the early 1970s, he and Peggy divorced and shortly afterwards he entered a short-lived marriage to his former highschool student, who shared his passion for botany. After his second divorce, he spent two decades living hermit-like in a 2-car garage-sized shed on Camas Hill in Metchosin, west of Victoria, where he was surrounded by nature. Camas Hill is a remnant of Garry oak habitat, dominated by bedrock bluffs and with many rare plants and animals. Eventually he became too old to be able to live under such primitive conditions, and through the encouragement and assistance of naturalist Morelea Milne he moved to a house in Duncan.

Art's particular interest was the genus Eyrthronium, and he eventually managed to grow specimens of almost every species in his garden along with Trillium, Allium and various other plants that he found interesting. When he could no longer maintain his garden, his Erythronium and some other plants were moved to the gardens of the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific in Victoria. His herbarium specimens were donated to the University of Victoria, and his son Cris has Art's childhood butterfly collection and his collection of superb wildflower photographs (Kodachrome slides) with the intention of eventually posting them on the web.

While botany was his biggest interest, Art also studied other aspects of the natural world, particularly butterflies and waterfowl. Art's early interest in butterflies was adopted by his son Cris. His waterfowl photographs focused on documenting behaviors such as courtship displays, with the intention of eventually publishing a book. That book was never written -- although the black and white negatives still exist -- but he wrote an unpublished book about a month-long trip he took with his son Cris to the west coast of Alaska to photograph nesting waterfowl. The deer that ate his vegetable garden at Camas Hill provided endless entertainment observing their behavior, once he gave up on trying to scare them away. His year-long war with the carpenter ants that tried to eat his garage home also gave him fascinating observations of how the ants changed their behavior to escape his attempts to kill them.

He wrote several articles that were published in various journals. Some of his work can be seen at -- please scroll down to Categories and Recent Posts.

Art was passionate about conservation and was involved in the creation of the Sutton Pass Ecological Reserve, recommended by McMillan Bloedel, in 1978, after Art brought their attention to the rare adder's tongue fern in the area. He continued to be involved in other similar endeavours for many years.

In his later years, Art became unable to continue living alone due to advancing dementia and lived in a care home for the last few years. He passed away in his sleep on the morning of Dec. 22, 2018. He is survived by both his former wives, and his three children Jeanne, Crispin and Judith.


From: Environmental Science and Pollution Research 25(9). 2018. DOI: 10.1007/s11356-018-1508-2

Abstract: Arctic-alpine tundra habitats are very vulnerable to the input of relatively small amounts of xenobiotics, and thus their level in such areas must be carefully controlled. Therefore, we collected the terrestrial widespread moss Racomitrium lanuginosum (Hedw.) Brid. in Spitsbergen in the Arctic moss lichen tundra and, for comparison, in the Arctic-alpine tundra in the Karkonosze (SW Poland). Concentrations of the elements Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Li, Mn, Mo, Na, Ni, Pb, V, and Zn in this species and in the parent rock material were measured. We tested the following hypothesis: R. lanuginosum from Spitsbergen contains lower metal levels than the species from the Karkonosze collected at altitudes influenced by long-range transport from former Black Triangle industry. Principal component and classification analysis (PCCA) ordination revealed that mosses of Spitsbergen were distinguished by a significantly higher Na concentration of marinespray origin and mosses of Karkonosze were distinguished by significantly higher concentrations of Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Li, Mn, Pb, V, and Zn probably from long-range atmospheric transport. The influence of the polar station with a waste incinerator resulted in significantly higher Co, Li, and Ni concentrations in neighbouring mosses in comparison with this species from other sites. This investigation contributes to the use of Racomitrium lanuginosum as a bioindicator for metal contamination in Arctic and alpine tundra regions characterised by severe climate habitats with a restricted number of species. This moss enables the control of pollution usually brought solely by long-range atmospheric transport in high mountains as well as in Arctic areas.


From: Groh JS, Percy DM, Björk CR, & Cronk QCB. 2018. On the origin of orphan hybrids between Aquilegia formosa and Aquilegia flavescens. AoB PLANTS 10: ply071; doi: 10.1093/aobpla/ply071

The article reports the investigation of an Aquilegia flavescens S. Watson × Aquilegia formosa Fisch. ex DC. population in British Columbia that is disjunct from its parents-the latter species is present locally but ecologically separated, while the former is entirely absent. To confirm hybridity, we used multivariate analysis of floral characters of field-sampled populations to ordinate phenotypes of putative hybrids in relation to those of the parental species. Microsatellite genotypes at 11 loci from 72 parental-type and putative hybrid individuals were analysed to assess evidence for admixture. Maternally inherited plastid sequences were analysed to infer the direction of hybridization and test hypotheses on the origin of the orphan hybrid population. Plants from the orphan hybrid population are on average intermediate between typical Aquilegia formosa and Aquilegia flavescens for most phenotypes examined and show evidence of genetic admixture. This population lies beyond the range of Aquilegia flavescens, but within the range of Aquilegia formosa. No pure Aquilegia flavescens individuals were observed in the vicinity, nor is this species known to occur within 200 km of the site. The hybrids share a plastid haplotype with local Aquilegia formosa populations. Alternative explanations for this pattern are evaluated. While we cannot rule out long-distance pollen dispersal followed by proliferation of hybrid genotypes, we consider the spread of an Aquilegia formosa plastid during genetic swamping of a historical Aquilegia flavescens population to be more parsimonious.

A putative hybrid population of Aquilegia flavescens × Aquilegia formosa was originally identified by one of us (Curtis R. Björk) on the upper slope of Porcupine Ridge in the Marble Range, British Columbia (BC) in the summer of 2016, and examined by the authors in detail the following summer. This site lies squarely within the typical range of Aquilegia formosa, but over 200 km to the west of the nearest reliable records of Aquilegia flavescens. Although hybrid populations appear to be common in south-eastern BC, this population is striking due to the absence of one of the parents. Two independent surveys of the surrounding area in different years failed to detect any pure Aquilegia flavescens individuals. We therefore sought to confirm the hybrid ancestry of this population, and to test hypotheses on the origin of the hybrid population. To confirm hybrid ancestry, we considered phenotypic and genetic (microsatellite) data of the putative hybrids in relation to allopatric parental populations. To assess the direction of hybridization and test hypotheses on the origin of the hybrid population, we compared maternally inherited plastid haplotypes of the hybrid individuals to those of allopatric parental populations as well as local Aquilegia formosa populations. As Aquilegia seeds do not disperse far, an Aquilegia flavescens maternal origin would support the extirpation of a pre-existing Aquilegia flavescens population, possibly through genetic swamping by local Aquilegia formosa. Alternatively, an Aquilegia formosa maternal origin could support spread of an Aquilegia formosa plastid lineage through a contact zone, or long-distance pollen dispersal from Aquilegia flavescens. Lastly, we used spatial analysis of herbarium specimen phenotypes to explore evidence for introgression throughout the distribution of these species.

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