Colin Webb, Allan Mere recipient for 2002. Photo: © Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research.
The NZBS Committee is pleased to announce that it has this year chosen to award the Allan Mere to Colin Webb of Wellington in recognition of his outstanding contributions to New Zealand botany. The award was presented to Colin at a Canterbury Botanical Society function on the 7th February 2003 at Canterbury University.
Peter Heenan and Peter de Lange, in nominating Colin, outlined the contribution he has made to New Zealand botany in the following extract:
For nearly three decades Colin has made significant scientific contributions to New Zealand botany and provided visionary and pragmatic science leadership.
Colin has authored four books, the most notable being the Flora of New Zealand, Volume 4, Naturalised Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, Dicotyledons (1988) written with Phil Garnock-Jones and Bill Sykes and the Seeds of New Zealand Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons (2001) co-authored with Margaret Simpson. These two publications are landmark books in New Zealand botany and are key references for researchers and others interested in the botanical and ecological sciences. Colin has also written two popular books, Flowering Plants of New Zealand (1990) with Peter Johnson and Bill Sykes, and Wildflower City: Wellington, New Zealand (2000) with A. Knowles.
Colin has published over 80 scientific papers on taxonomy, reproductive biology, and the evolution of plant breeding systems, with many of these papers being on the New Zealand flora. The New Zealand Apiaceae provided an important foundation for the development of many of his ideas on the evolution of plant reproductive systems. Colin is acknowledged as an international expert on reproductive biology and has worked closely with other world renowned experts such as David Lloyd and K. Bawa. His papers with David Lloyd on Secondary Sex Characters in Plants (Botanical Review, 1977) and on herkogamy and dichogamy (New Zealand Journal of Botany, 1986) are regarded as internationally significant publications. Colin is committed to making science available to a wider audience and has published over 50 popular articles. He has also established as a partnership a small publishing company, Manuka Press, to publish and market high quality, low cost, botanical books.
Colin joined Botany Division, DSIR, in 1975 as a scientist and for the next 13 years worked on Flora IV as senior author. From 1987 he has held important leadership positions in New Zealand science, and is held in high regard for his leadership, vision, attention to detail, and pragmatic approach to problem solving. Between 1987 and 1990 he held management positions in Botany Division, including Programme Manager, Plant Biosystematics, and in 1990 he was appointed Group Manager, Biosystematics and Ecology in DSIR Land Resources. In 1992 Colin was appointed science planner for Landcare Research and in 1995 he was appointed Manager, Public Good Science Fund at the Foundation for Science, Research and Technology.
Colin’s achievements in research and science management in New Zealand are considerable, and it should be acknowledged that since 1987 when he took on senior management responsibilities much of his research, and the preparation of publications have been in his own time.
Citation reproduced from the New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletter, No. 70, Dec 2002.