Friday, 03 June 2016 on 8:44am

Dutch Grass Expert Lectures at BIOTROP

Dr Jan-Frits Veldkamp, a well-known plant taxonomist from The Netherlands, became BIOTROP’s 11th speaker for its Quarterly Public Seminar Series held on 19 May 2016 on the topic “Weeds, Plants of the Future.”

During the seminar, Dr.Veldkamp clarified the definition of weeds and elaborated on their general characteristics. He called them as plants of the future due to their increasing environmental impacts globally that needs immediate attention as well as the growing interest to discover their other potentially beneficial uses.

Dr Veldkamp was in BIOTROP as a visiting scientist from 10-23 May 2016. Other than giving a seminar, he spent time identifying and correcting the names of the grass collection at BIOTROP Herbarium specifically on the complex genera Isachne and Ischaemum. Among the latter, a specimen of Apocopis collinus was hidden, a very rare species, which was collected by Dr. Sukisman, BIOTROP scientist, near Banjarmasin, where there is apparently a small but ancient savannah area. He also found Sporobolus tenuissimus plentiful in front of BIOTROP Administration Building, a weed that has silently invaded Indonesia since the 1970's. This weed was not yet represented in the BIOTROP Herbarium.

Dr Veldkamp started his career by studying biology at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and becoming an assistant of Prof Van Steenis, the founder of the Flora Malesiana and the co-author of the Mountain Flora of Java. He obtained his PhD on the revision of the Malesian species of Digitaria (Graminae). He has been involved in the revision of the herbaceous grasses for the Flora Malesiana Project. Currently, he is an Honorary Fellow of the Natural Biodiversity Center, Herbarium, Leiden, The Netherlands.

In enriching his curiosity on grasses, Dr Veldkamp has been collecting grasses from Afghanistan, Australia, Europe, Ghana, Madeira, Malaysia, Malta, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and the USA. He has written 365 papers mainly related to plant taxonomy and nomenclature on Graminae, Melastomataceae, Oxalidaceae, Zingiberaceae, etc. One grass genus and 11 species in various families have been named after him.

The seminar was attended by 50 participants consisting of university lecturers, post graduate students and junior scientists from research institutions in Bogor.

BIOTROP started its Quarterly Public Seminar Series in 2013 as one special initiative under its 9th Five-Year Development Plan.

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