Rosemary Purdie 'Kamchatka Revisited: Plant Life on the Edge'

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Thursday, 22 May 2014 - 12:30pm

Kamchatka peninsula in Far Eastern Russia has a landscape dominated by 30 active and 250+ inactive volcanoes. Its past and present volcanic activity, juxtaposed with its latitude and altitudinal variation plus long winters and short spring-summer seasons, can make survival challenging for plants. In this talk Rosemary will discuss these challenges, drawing on her travels there in 2011 and during a return visit in 2013 that included spending time on/in some very active volcanoes.

Rosemary Purdie is an ecologist who completed a science degree at Adelaide University, then spent two years in Malaysia with Australian Volunteers Abroad, lecturing at Serdang Agricultural College. After doing a PhD at the Australian National University, she was employed as a botanist at the Queensland Herbarium in Brisbane, and over the next four years lead a peripatetic life in teams mapping the land systems and vegetation of western Queensland. She then shifted to Canberra and joined the Commonwealth Public Service, holding a range of positions in the Bureau of Fauna and Flora, the Australian Heritage Commission and the Murray Darling Basin Commission. Her work ranged from helping to edit volumes of the Flora of Australia, to assessing and protecting places across Australia of natural and cultural heritage significance, to developing policies related to catchment management. She then spent 2 and a half years as the ACT’s Commissioner for the Environment before leaving the formal work force to be her own boss and have time to pursue two of her passions — plant conservation and travel to off-the-beaten track locations.