Keast Lecture

1 May, 2009

Each year the Keast Lecture brings a visiting academic to the School of Biological Sciences to present a public seminar, then to spend the weekend in a professional development retreat for Postgraduate students at the School's Warrah field station.

Presented by Dr Peter Weston on 1 May, the third annual Keast Lecture, Austral Biogeography, drew a crowd of over 80 people to the Eastern Ave Lecture Theatre including staff, students, external guests and alumni. Dr Weston's plant-themed seminar also brought back to campus ex-botany staff Dr Peter Myerscough, Dr Peter Valder and A Prof Bill Allaway who were Dr Weston's plant ecology, mycology and plant physiology lecturers during his undergraduate years in SoBS.

The 2009 Keast Lecturship was held by Dr Peter Weston, Senior Principal Research Scientist at the National Herbarium of New South Wales.

Dr Weston opened the seminar with a tribute to Professor Allen Keast, who in 2005 set up the Keast Lecture with a donation to the School, illustrating the influence Allen had on the field of biogeography and describing his first encounter with Allen at Warrah field station. The seminar provided an entertaining discussion of how molecular techniques have illuminated the age-old argument, initiated by Hooker and Darwin, on whether continental drift or long-distance dispersal accounted for the geographical distribution of plant species in the southern hemisphere.

At the conclusion of the seminar, audience members were treated to lunch in the tea room of Carslaw Building where some beautiful orchid specimens grown by Mihaly Ferenczi were on display to compliment the botanical flavour of the day.

Dr John Sved, A Prof Chris Gillies, Dr Peter Weston, Dr Peter Valder, A Prof Bill Allaway, Dr Peter Myerscough