Saint Louis University

The Department of Biology at Saint Louis University will host the 2013 John Dwyer Public Lecture in Biology at 4 p.m. Monday, May 6, in the Shoenberg Auditorium at the Missouri Botanical Garden, a valued partner in the annual lecture series. The event is free and open to the public.

Plant conservationist Dr. Kingsley Dixon will be the guest speaker at the John Dwyer Lecture in Biology.

The 2013 is Professor Kingsley Dixon, one of the most famous plant conservationists and scientists in the southern hemisphere. He is the director of research at the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority for Kings Park Botanical Garden in Perth, Western Australia.

Dixon is well known for his innovative techniques for restoring habitats disrupted by mining and for propagating rare and endangered species using such unlikely things as "liquid smoke" and soil fungi.

The title of Professor Dixon's lecture is "Conservation: Hope in the Age of Extinction."

Peter Bernhardt, Ph.D., professor of biology and organizer of the John Dwyer Public Lectures in Biology, said it will be a lecture richly illustrated with the vividly colored and oddly shaped wild flowers of Western Australia.

"This should include everlasting daisies, bizarre members of the blueberry family, rare carnivorous plants and orchids that pretend to be female wasps."

Who: Prof. Kingsley Dixon,Research Director, Kings Park and Botanical Garden, Perth, Western Australia
What: John Dwyer Public Lecture in Biology "Conservation: Hope in the Age of Extinction"
When: Monday, May 6, 4 p.m.
Where: Shoenberg Auditorium, Missouri Botanical Garden, Shaw entrance.
Speaker: Prof. Kingsley Dixon Research Director, Kings Park and Botanical Garden, Perth, Western Australia

Abstract of the Dixon Lecture

When Charles Darwin visited the southwest of Western Australia in 1836 he remarked that never had he seen such a dull and uninteresting place. He never again visited. But had Darwin stepped ashore and ventured just a few miles inland he would have discovered a botanical wonderland unrivalled for diversity, richness and exuberance.

Today the state of Western Australia has an astonishing 12,000 species of flowering plant with the richest assemblage of ground orchids on earth - including the remarkable Western Australian underground orchid that spends its entire life cycle buried in the dry and parched soils of the interior. Wherever you look there are marvels as you wander landscapes replete with the greatest diversity of insect eating plants and the world's richest diversity of the blueberry family. And nowhere else is pollination of flowers taken to such extremes with one in ten plants pollinated by birds or where you are more than likely to see hapless male wasps being sexually deceived by orchid flowers that are 'vegetable females." For botanical science the southwest of the remarkable continent of Australia provides a laboratory unparalleled in the opportunities for unravelling nature's mysteries.

I do hope you will join me on a journey of discovery to the Great South Land and unlike Darwin, see the seemingly inexhaustible beauty and brilliance that is the Western Australian outback.

Learn more about Professor Kingsley Dixon

Learn more about SLU's Department of Biology