05 November 2010

World Gesneriad Research Conference a success

The World Gesneriad Research Conference 2010 (WGRC 2010) was an international meeting of the world’s Gesneriacae researchers, students and lay enthusiasts who came together with the goal of understanding and promoting knowledge of the plant family Gesneriaceae (the African violet family and one of the core group of plants under study at Selby Gardens).

The conference venue (photo by Bruce K. Holst)

The conference was held October 13-15, 2010 at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, FL, USA. Over 70 people from around the world attended WGRC 2010, with registrants from North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Attendees were rewarded with 34 oral presentations by researchers and students, with topics covered including phylogeny and taxonomy, biogeography, floristics, development and reproduction, and education and conservation.

WGRC 2010 Presenters (Photo by Bruce K. Holst)

WGRC 2010 was principally organized by Dr. John R. Clark, Head of Molecular Programs at Selby Gardens and Jeanne Katzenstein, The Gesneriad Society, with a great deal of assistance from Bruce Holst and other Selby Gardens staff and volunteers. The conference has been deemed a complete success, with many attendees commenting on the scope and professionalism of the event.

Fred Barrie, The Field Museum/Missouri Botanical Garden, John R. Clark, Selby Gardens, and Warren L. Wagner, The Smithsonian Institution, enjoying beers at the conference mixer (photo by Bruce K. Holst)

“This is one of the best conferences of this scale that I have ever attended,” Commented Dr. Warren L. Wagner, Head of Botany at the Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Wagner listed the number and caliber of talks as well as the camaraderie between attendees as reasons for this comment. Dr. Peter Schalit, President of The Gesneriad Society stated, “this was by far the best gesneriad event I've ever experienced.”

Paul Susi, Peter Shalit, and Bob Clark, Gesneriad Society Board Members (photo by Bruce K. Holst)

By planning and hosting international meetings, Selby Gardens continues its role as a leader in global botanical research and conservation. Dr. John R. Clark says, “hosting this very successful conference illustrates our ability to not only provide a service to our greater community but also our leadership in scientific research among the global botanical community.”

Thomas Buchter, Selby President and CEO, and Nora Johnson, President, Selby Gardens Board of Trustees at the WGRC 2010 mixer (photo by Bruce K. Holst)

Thomas Buchter, President and CEO of Selby Gardens states, “we are committed to excellence in all that we do at the Gardens and the success of WGRC 2010 demonstrates this well. I hope our supporters and city are as proud of this accomplishment as we are; consider it a prelude of things to come for Selby Gardens and for Sarasota.”

Chirita longgangensis (photo by Dr. Phil Nelson)