Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Australian Biological Resources Study Advisory Committee - Report - Year - 1983-84


Download PDF Download PDF

The Parliament o f the Commonwealth of Australia

A U STRALIAN BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES STUDY

Annual Report

1983-84

Presented 25 February 1985 Ordered to be printed 28 March 1985

Parliamentary Paper No. 84/1985

Department of Home Affairs and Environment

Australian B iological R esources Study A N N U A L R E P O R T 1 9 8 3 -8 4

Australian Government Publishing Service Canberra 1984

(£) Commonwealth of Australia 1984 ISSN 0728-7208

Printed by Watson Ferguson and Co., Brisbane

The Hon. Barry Cohen, M.P. Minister for Home Affairs and Environment Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Minister On behalf of the Australian Biological Resources Advisory Committee, I present a report on the progress of the Study during 1983-84. During that time

the Committee was chaired by my predecessor. Professor Ralph Slatyer. The year was marked by the publications of the first volume of the Zoological Catalogue o f Australia, and a further volume of the Flora o f Australia.

G. B. Sharman (Chairman)

The Minister, the Hon. Barry Cohen, launching Volume 1 o f the Zoological Catalogue of Australia at the National Library on 28 November 1983. With the Minister are (from left to right) the Chairman o f the ABRS Advisory Committee, Professor R. O. Slatyer and the authors, Mrs Η. M. Cogger, Miss E. E. Cameron and Dr H. G. Cogger.

CONTENTS

Summary 1

Introduction 3

Administration 5

The ABRS Advisory Committee 6

The Bureau of Flora and Fauna 7

ABRS Participatory Program 10

ABRS Projects 12

Appendixes I Staff of the Bureau of Flora and Fauna 19

II Preferred Objectives for 1984 20

III ABRS—Grants Awarded for 1984 21

SUMMARY

Major achievements in 1983-84

• publication of volume 22 of the Flora o f Australia • publication of the first volume of the Zoological Catalogue o f Australia • planning of the 10-volume publication, Fauna o f Australia • organisation of five workshops on a variety of topics of concern to

scientists engaged in taxonomic and biogeographic research • BIOCLIM, a computer-based system for predicting species and com­ munity distributions, was made publicly available on CSIRONET • the Census o f Australian Vertebrate Species, a publicly-accessible list of

current scientific names for higher vertebrate species, was made available on CSIRONET.

Major problems in 1983-84

• Inadequate funding of the Participatory Program has meant that many worthwhile, highly recommended, projects could not be funded. The Committee recommended that at least $1.5 million be made available for the Participatory Program in 1985 • problems continued to occur with the publication and marketing strategy

for ABRS publications.

1

INTRODUCTION

The Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) was established in 1973 under an Interim Advisory Council to stimulate taxonomic and ecological studies of Australian flora and fauna. ABRS responsibilities include provision of advice to the Commonwealth on national taxonomic collections, the establishment and maintenance of taxonomic databases and the publication of

handbooks on flora and fauna. Much of the work of the study is done in State museums, herbaria and universities. Some Divisions of the CSIRO also carry out ABRS-related research. The ABRS has been in existence for 10 years and this annual report gives details of the past year’s activities as well as concise statements on the nature of

individual ABRS programs. Because ABRS is administered by the Bureau of Flora and Fauna, a brief statement of its activities during the past year is also included.

Aims and objectives of the ABRS

The ABRS aims can be summarised as attempting to answer two questions:

• what kinds of plants and animals are there in Australia? • where are these plants and animals found? In detail, the objectives, as defined by Government Decision, are:

1. to co-ordinate all work aimed at collecting, describing and classifying Australian plants and animals and determining their distribution 2. to establish priorities for taxonomic research 3. to record and collate information on flora and fauna collected when

geographical areas have been studied or surveyed in any way 4. to co-ordinate publication of a systematic series of flora and fauna handbooks 5. to maintain comprehensive information on, and provide professional

evaluation of, national taxonomic collections.

To give effect to these objectives the ABRS aims at using data base management techniques to manage the taxonomic and distributional infor­ mation and to publish major taxonomic works on the Australian flora and fauna using computer-assisted production techniques.

The area covered by the ABRS includes all States and Territories, immediate offshore islands, Macquarie Island, Lord Howe Island and all external Territories. Particular Objectives at present are to:

• improve and increase the output of taxonomic research and documen­ tation in Australia by means of a grants scheme, called the Participatory Program. This program, which awards grants to researchers in the States and Territories, is the core of the ABRS activities

3

promote the writing and publishing of Flora o f Australia. This work, of about 60 volumes, will be the first national Flora for over 100 years and the first to be written in Australia. The Flora is already widely-recognised as a significant work of reference and a major aid to the identification of Australian flora promote the writing and publishing of a 10-volume Fauna o f Australia, the first work to provide comprehensive information on the identification of Australia’s fauna. Although this project is still in the development stage,

there is widespread enthusiasm for the work among Australian zoologists. This work complements the Zoological Catalogue o f Australia, a multivolume work on the taxonomy of Australian fauna. The Zoological

Catalogue will also exist as a computerised database develop a database system for distributional and taxonomic specimen data held by Australian museums and herbaria, to be known as the Australian Biogeographic Information System (ABIS). From time to time publications will be produced from this database—e.g. the atlas of elapid (front-fanged terrestrial venomous) snakes of Australia, currently in preparation

investigate the methodology needed to use ABIS in planning and co­ ordinating biological surveys and environmental sampling and to improve the taxonomic process, particularly in relation to distribution studies review the program to map Australia’s vegetation.

ADMINISTRATION

The ABRS is administered by a small unit of full-time staff in Canberra (the Bureau of Flora and Fauna). Three committees provide policy advice on various aspects of the Study. The ABRS Advisory Committee advises the Minister for Home Affairs and

Environment on the general progress of the Study and the award of grants under the Participatory Program. The Flora Editorial Committee and the Fauna Editorial Committee provide advice on the publication of works associated with floral and faunal taxonomic studies to the Director, Bureau of

Flora and Fauna, and through him to the ABRS Advisory Committee. An organisational chart summarising these relationships is at Fig. 1. The critical feature of ABRS organisation is that it aims to maximise the facilities and expertise available in State and other institutions, and not to duplicate those functions at a Federal level.

Figure 1

Policy Program Advice·, Grants recommendation

Grants Approval

Publication Advice

Membership; Publication advice

Program advice

Requests for funding

Preferred Objectives

SECRETARY

ABRS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

FLORA EDITORIAL C O M M IT T EE

FAUNA EDITORIAL C O M M IT T EE

MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS AND ENVIR ONMENT

SCIENTIFIC PROGRAM IN CLU DING PUBLICATIONS

PARTICIPATORY PROGRAM (STATES. TER R IT OR IE S, AND F E DER AL AGENCIES)

BUREAU OF FLORA A ND FAUNA

DIRECTOR

DEPARTMENT OF HOME AFFAIRS A N D ENVIR ONMENT

5

THE ABRS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

In 1978 the Government established an ABRS Advisory Committee. This Committee is appointed by the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment to advise on priorities for the Study and to recommend the award of grants. It consists of a Chairman, five members who are appointed by the Minister for

three-year terms, and two ex officio members, the Director of the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Director of the Bureau of Flora and Fauna. Four of the five appointed members are chosen to represent a range of interests in taxonomy and distribution of flora and fauna, both professional and amateur, on an Australia-wide basis. The fifth member is nominated by the Executive of CSIRO.

The Advisory Committee meets twice a year in Canberra and, through its Chairman, contributes to major policy discussions and program developments throughout the year.

Membership 1983-1984

Chairman

Professor R. O. Slatyer, A.O., F.A.A., F.R.S. Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University.

Members

Dr D. J. G. Griffin, Director, Australian Museum, Sydney Dr R. W. Johnson, Director, Botany Branch, Queensland Department of Primary Industries Mr A. I. Sinclair, Treasurer, Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union,

Melbourne (until December 31, 1983). Professor R. L. Specht, Professor of Botany, University of Queensland, Brisbane (until December 31, 1983). Miss M. Cameron, Vice-President, Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union

and Editor, Geelong Naturalist (from January 1, 1984). Dr B. Y. Main, University of Western Australia (from January 1, 1984). Mr Μ. V. Tracey, A.O., F.T.S., Director, Institute of Biological Resources, CSIRO (until December 31, 1983). Emeritus Professor M. G. Pitman, Director, Institute of Biological Resources,

CSIRO (from January 1, 1984). Emeritus Professor J. D. Ovington, Director, Australian National Parks & Wildlife Service [ex officio). Dr P. Bridgewater, Director, Bureau of Flora and Fauna (ex officio).

6

THE BUREAU OF FLORA AND FAUNA

The Bureau of Flora and Fauna is a branch of the Department of Home Affairs and Environment. It consists of a Director and a team of scientific officers (see Appendix I) who co-ordinate all work contributing to the ABRS program and prepare and edit results for publication. It has also an administrative group which acts as a secretariat for the Advisory Committee and administers the award of grants.

The Bureau is accommodated in Acton House, Acton, A.C.T. Although this accommodation has some problems in the provision of suitable laboratory space, it is envisaged that the Bureau will be based there for the foreseeable future.

Communication

Much of the work of the Bureau is achieved by ensuring that a national perspective is introduced to as many aspects of taxonomic and biogeographic work as possible. Several activities are directed towards this, including visits by Bureau staff to participating institutions throughout Australia, holding of workshops and attendance at seminars.

Staff participated in a number of seminars during the year including topics on Computing, Survey Methods for Nature Conservation and Weeds in National Parks and Bushland. The Director attended the annual meeting of the Association of Systematics Collections at Urbana, Illinois, and gave seminars on the ABRS at a number of locations in North America. One other staff member travelled to Europe and North America to study literature for the Australian Plant Name Index, and gave seminars on the ABRS in the U.K., the Netherlands and the U.S.A.

During 1983-84 five workshops were organised by the Bureau, bringing together several small groups of interested scientists from around Australia. Topics discussed were: • DELTA system for flora writing

• Lichens (held in Melbourne) • Platyhelminthes • ABIS in museums e ABIS in herbaria (hosted by the Queensland Herbarium).

These workshops have had, and will have, several impacts on the ABRS programs including; • increased use of computer techniques to prepare work for the Flora and Fauna, representing both a saving in staff time and more consistent

presentation

7

• preparation of material for proposed volumes on lichens for the Flora • definition of research work necessary for a deeper understanding of the taxonomy and biology of the Platyhelminthes • considerably-increased awareness of the value of ABIS as a research and

curation management tool and consequent faster development of ABIS.

Research

The Bureau of Flora and Fauna has the capacity, by virtue of its team of scientific staff, to undertake a small amount of research. Three members of the staff contributed portions of Flora o f Australia, Volume 22, which went to press early in 1983. In addition several small research projects were undertaken in

1983-84. These included:

• bibliography of Australian flora, for the Bicentennial History o f Australia • biogeography of Acacia in Australia • taxonomy and biogeography of Eremaea (Myrtaceae) in southwestern Australia • taxonomy and distribution of Aneuraceae (a family of thalloid liverworts) • taxonomic revision of the genus Verticordia (Myrtaceae) • post-cranial skeletal variation in marsupials • vegetation ecology and biogeography of saltmarsh and mangrove

ecosystems in Australia.

From November 1983 three positions were provided for 12 months under the Commonwealth Employment Program to help develop aspects of the biogeography program. As a result of their efforts progress with the Atlas o f Elapid Snakes was accelerated and databases for a number of plant genera created.

Other Activities

In addition to its major responsibility for the ABRS programs the Bureau of Flora and Fauna was also responsible for the administration of Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulation 13A, which controls the export of insects, ticks and spiders. This responsibility ceased in May 1983 upon proclamation of the Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act of 1982, which is administered by the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Since 1979 the Bureau has also had responsibility for the administration of the appointment of the Australian Botanical Liaison Officer (ABLO) at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, U.K. This appointment provides for an officer of an Australian botanical institution to be resident at Kew as a visiting scientist. The officer obtains information for other Australian botanists from the collections and libraries at Kew and other European centres and provides information on Australian botany as a reciprocal service. In 1983-84 some enquiries from New Zealand were also investigated by the ABLO. Appoint­

8

ments are made for one year and the expenses are shared between the Bureau and the officer’s own institution. Following recommendation by the Council of Heads of Australian Herbaria, the Advisory Committee selected Dr S. W. L. Jacobs, of the

National Herbarium of New South Wales, to be the ABLO for 1983-84. In keeping with past practice, the selection was endorsed by the Standing Committee on Agriculture.

9

ABRS PARTICIPATORY PROGRAM

A primary aim of this program is to provide support to increase the output of taxonomic research on the Australian biota. In 1984 $800,000 was awarded to workers in Australia and overseas to further this aim. Besides being a granting scheme, the Participatory Program maintains a

register of taxonomists, biogeographers and illustrators interested in, or working in, the Australian region. All registrants receive a bi-annual information sheet (Biologue) advising on the progress of the Study and the groups of flora and fauna endorsed for grant support in the next year.

Registration forms are available from The Director, Bureau of Flora and Fauna, GPO Box 1383, Canberra, A.C.T. 2601. An issue of a Directory of all registrants is planned in 1984 and access to the updated register will be available on request thereafter. This should provide a direct means of finding taxonomic experts and for identifying workers with similar interests.

In March 1984, the ABRS Advisory Committee reported to the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment that ‘Funding for the ABRS program, whilst improving significantly in the 1980-81 and the 1981-82 financial years, suffered a decline in 1982-83. Although there has been an increase in 1983-84 the amount available

($800,000) was the same as in 1981-82. ‘Every year there are many more high quality, relevant applications for ABRS funds than can possibly be satisfied by the sums of money available to the Advisory Committee. For example, in 1982 only 27% of the requests could be satisfied. By minimising the advertised objectives the Committee was able to increase this figure for 1983 to approximately 50%. It must be stressed, however, that this apparent improvement was due solely to a more restrictive form of advertising and in no way denotes that research programs are being satisfactorily funded. This action was taken to prevent widespread disillusion­ ment with the ABRS among the taxonomic community.

‘Since 1980-81 the proportion available for general taxonomic research has declined, because of the need to support activities such as the ABRS publications and ABIS-related projects. ‘In 1979 the Advisory Committee recommended to the then Minister that $1.5 million be made available in 1981-82 for the support of taxonomic research around Australia.

‘The recent experience of the Advisory Committee suggests a base value of $1.5 million (in 1983 dollars) would be needed to fund adequately even the narrow range oj preferred objectives necessary to support existing ABRS programs, and to allow limited funds to be expended on supporting general

taxonomic research. Any sum less than this will result in the quality of the ABRS program declining and the community expectation of ABRS perfor­ 10

mance similarly declining. The Advisory Committee formally recommends to the Minister that he seek to raise the level of funding in the ABRS Participatory Program to $1.5 million in 1985, and that he review the staffing situation in the Bureau of Flora and Fauna to enable the agreed rate for ABRS publications to

be met.’ Since 1983, the Committee has been forced to accept that it is not possible to meet a wide range of objectives in taxonomic research under the present economic conditions. While the ABRS scheme was modelled at its inception on

the then Australian Research Grants Committee (ARGC) program, it has become obvious that the competing demands on the resources provided, between curiosity-motivated research and strategic and tactical research, had to be resolved in favour of the latter. The restricted objectives are advertised annually. Objectives for 1984 are at Appendix II.

The Advisory Committee advised the Minister accordingly, in April 1983, that the limited resources provided should be absorbed primarily by support for research linked closely to the production of the ABRS publications and the development of the Australian Biogeographic Information System (ABIS).

The Minister approved funding for 75 projects in 1984. The scope of projects funded was wide, and included revisions of a number of plant genera, vegetation survey and mapping in N.S.W. and Queensland, plant collecting in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, systematic studies on polychaetes, nematodes, crustaceans and sponges and preliminary work on an atlas of mammals for Victoria. Funding was provided to institutions in all States and Territories, and to both professional and amateur biologists. A full list of grants awarded is at Appendix III.

11

ABRS PROJECTS

Flora of Australia

The Flora o f Australia is a series of about 60 volumes in which all the plants of Australia and its Territories will be described. Publication began in 1981 and should be completed around the year 2010. More than 100 botanists in Australia and overseas are contributing to the Flora. Many are writing about plants that they have studied for some years, while others are taking up groups not examined in recent years. The work will bring together the most up-to-date information available on the classification of Australian plants.

There are estimated to be over 30,000 plant species in Australia—about 20,000 flowering plants, the remainder being ferns, gymnosperms, lichens, mosses, liverworts, fungi and algae. Although initial emphasis is being given to the flowering plants, all plant species will be described in the Flora, along with keys for identification. Many will be illustrated as line drawings or colour plates. A distribution map will be given for each species.

Volumes 1-47 are devoted to the flowering plants. The families are arranged according to the classification of A. J. Cronquist, An Integrated system o f Classification o f Flowering Plants (Columbia University Press, New York, 1981). Volume 1 is an introductory volume. It includes a glossary, a key

to the flowering plants and essays on the classification and evolution and history of the study of the Australian flora. While only one volume of the Flora was published in 1983-84, the publication rate will be at least two volumes per year in future. Provision of five full-time staff devoted to the Flora would ensure the original Government target of three volumes per year could be met. During 1983-84 Volume 22 (Rhizophorales to Celastrales) was published.

The Bureau of Flora and Fauna plans, co-ordinates and edits the Flora. The books are published by the Australian Government Publishing Service and are available in both hard and soft covers.

Australian Plant Name Index

The Australian Plant Name Index is an index of all scientific names that have been applied to Australian seed-bearing plants. For each name the Index lists the original place and date of publication of the name, its typification and nomenclatural status and cites recent revisions where the name has been used. However, it does not make taxonomic judgements.

For Australia, the Index is more comprehensive than Index Kewensis as it provides more information with each name and provides similar information for generic, infra-generic, supra-specific and infra-specific names. Over 55,000 names will be in the Index when complete. It is estimated that the Index will account for virtually all names ever applied to Australian plants.

12

At present the Index is on cards but is actively being developed as a computer database. It is planned to have it published on microfiche in 1986. Already the Index is an important reference for botanists. It provides much of the background information necessary for taxonomists who are writing for the Flora o f Australia or doing revisionary and monographic studies on Australian plants. It is also a useful source of information for ecologists, horticulturists, conservationists and others needing information on the

nomenclature and taxonomy of Australian plants.

Fauna of Australia

The aim of the Fauna o f Australia is to provide, in ten 800-page volumes, a comprehensive overview of the biology, taxonomy, evolution and history of discovery of the Australian fauna. It will consist of two major sections: (i) general articles and (ii) descriptions of taxa usually at the level of family and above. The general articles, in Volume 1, will include information on such topics as the history of the Australian environment, the evolution and radiation of the Australian fauna in relation to the history of the continent and

principles of classification and nomenclature. Articles on taxa will include information on their physiology, anatomy, natural history, biogeography, fossil history and economic significance and will indicate how their uniqueness reflects the responses both of the individual (behaviour and physiology) and the population (ecology) to the special rigors of the Australian environment.

The Fauna will be the central document for the systematic series of fauna handbooks and index volumes produced through the ABRS. The series is intended as a major reference source for scientists, fauna authorities, students and amateur naturalists. One volume of the Fauna is to be published each year between 1986 and 1995. It is expected that each volume will take three years to prepare. The distribution of material between volumes is:

Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4.

Volume 5. Volume 6. Volume 7.

Volume 8. Volume 9. Volume 10.

General Articles, Mammalia Aves, Reptilia, Amphibia Pisces Echinodermata, Annelida, minor coelomate phyla

Mollusca Insecta Arachnida Crustacea Nematoda, Platyhelminthes, minor acoelomate phyla Cnidaria, Porifera, Protozoa

Zoological Catalogue of Australia

The Zoological Catalogue o f Australia is a concise, computer-based, data bank containing information on the current taxonomic and biological knowledge of each species in the Australian fauna. It is designed to serve primarily as a 13

bibliographic directory to the most comprehensive and recent information available on each species. As well as a published volume, the information for each Zoological Catalogue will be stored as a database. This database will be accessible via CSIRONET and eventually via other communication systems.

Information on each species includes a currently-accepted synonymy, with full literature citation, location and status of the type material and the type locality for each available name. Summary information is given on the ecology and distribution of each species. The ecological and distributional descriptors are selected from lists prepared by the Bureau of Flora and Fauna. These descriptors act as computer search terms for use with the database where available. Selected references are provided as a source of information on the biology of each species. The terrestrial, freshwater and marine faunas of Australia and its Territories are included.

It is planned that four sections of the database will be completed and published each year. Each section consists of a convenient taxonomic unit containing about 2000 species. Australian and overseas authors are presently preparing fourteen sections of the Catalogue.

The databases have been established in such a fashion as to allow them to be easily updated as new species are described, taxonomic revisions completed and new information on previously-entered species becomes available. It will also be possible to computer-search the database to provide specific information of interest to taxonomists, zoogeographers, fauna survey and management authorities, ecologists, environmental consultants and others.

The Bureau of Flora and Fauna plans, co-ordinates and edits both the Fauna and the Zoological Catalogue. Advice on technical matters is given by the Fauna Editorial Committee. The published volumes are available through the Australian Government Publishing Service. Volume 1 (Amphibia & Reptilia, by H. G. Cogger, E. E. Cameron & Η. M. Cogger) was published in 1983-84. It was launched by the

Minister on 29 November at the National Fibrary, Canberra. The volume has been well received and has proved an excellent start to the series.

Australian Biogeographic Information System (ABIS)

ABIS is concerned with determining the distribution of plants and animals in Australia. The goal of ABIS is to establish a co-ordinated national network of computerised databases of taxonomic and geographic information, based on

specimens, literature and records held in museum and herbarium collections. There are about 20 major collections in Australia, comprising an estimated 20-30 million specimens, with perhaps two-thirds of these being invertebrate animal specimens.

Ten institutions are actively involved in ABIS and others are planning to become so. Data for all vertebrate specimens will be included in computer databases by 1988. The development of a set of published data exchange standards has greatly assisted the selection of what data to store as a minimum.

The goal of a national network is facilitated by the existence of CSIRONET; a scientifically-oriented computer network which may be 14

accessed throughout the country and internationally using dedicated or dial­ up communications links. When ABIS began in 1973, each participating institution had local restrictions on hardware caused by the decisions of the State or Territory Government. These restrictions made networking parti­ cularly difficult to plan. Perceived and constrained needs of each local, autonomous institution tended to lead to a multiplicity of hardware and software systems. A national network is now becoming feasible with the development of computer databases and networking software that are largely

independent of the host computer. Only when issues are resolved will the operation of ABIS become a reality. The Bureau of Flora and Fauna is currently reviewing the operation of ABIS to set appropriate goals for the future.

First trials at combining data sets have been attempted now that some databases for similar taxa are becoming available in several institutions. The value of combining all available data is clear, but the enormous problem of obtaining standard application of names of species, plus raising all data sets to

the same minimum standard, must be recognised.

In 1984 grant support for ABIS activities was awarded to: • Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory • National Flerbarium of New South Wales

• Museum of Victoria (Division of Natural History) • Queensland Museum.

National Flora and Fauna Lists

To aid the preparation of its major publications, the Bureau of Flora and Fauna is developing comprehensive national lists of the current scientific names of plants and animals. For each species, the lists contain the correct scientific name, the name of the first describer, the States and Territories of occurrence and unique code numbers. For plants, the distribution is also indicated for subregions within the political boundaries.

The lists for mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are available now on the CSIRONET national computer network. The list for higher plants will be available in early 1985. It is planned to periodically update the lists, although the exact long-term procedures for this have yet to be established.

Each list is planned to become a subset of a larger taxonomic information system. For plants, the list will form part of the Australian Plant Name Index and for animals, the lists will be part of the Zoological Catalogue o f Australia. These lists provide a standard reference for current nomenclature that is

accessible publicly. They are of particular importance to taxonomists, land managers and conservation authorities. Details of access to these lists can be obtained from the Director, Bureau of Flora and Fauna.

15

Atlases

ABRS has supported the documentation of the distribution of species in Australia by means of grants for field surveys of poorly-known areas, documentation of museum/herbarium collections and coordination of map­ ping projects. A major aim of these atlas projects has been to involve the general public in ABRS activities, particularly by providing a means for allowing the many talented biologists not employed in museums, herbaria or universities to contribute to the documentation of Australia’s biota. The A tlas o f Australian Birds and the new project to map Banksia species, both outlined below, are making significant contributions to achieving this aim.

Significant atlas projects have included the following: • substantial support was given to the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union (RAOU) to collect field observations and literature records of the occurrence of all species of birds reported from Australia. Over 2 million

records were accumulated over 7 years. The Atlas o f Australian Birds was published in July 1984 • a new program to map the distribution of an important plant genus which also has considerable public interest and appeal, was begun in 1984. The

genus is Banksia (Proteaceae). It is a genus containing many ecologically- significant species and several species of apparently very restricted distribution. The success and costs of this program will influence further decisions to extend to other groups of plants and animals. An ABRS grant to the Western Australian Department of Fisheries & Wildlife will provide support for the co-ordination of this exercise • an Atlas o f the Elapid Snakes o f Australia is being compiled by the Bureau

of Flora and Fauna from 19 sets of museum records from within Australia and overseas. This is the first comprehensive documentation of the distri­ bution of these reptiles, a group that includes Australia’s most venomous snakes.

BIOCLIM

BIOCLIM—the Bioclimate Prediction System was developed by the Bureau of Flora and Fauna in collaboration with the CSIRO Division of Water and Land Resources. It was made available via CSIRONET during 1983-84. BIOCLIM was developed as part of the objective to use ABIS data efficiently and effectively.

BIOCLIM produces climatic profiles for species based upon known points of occurrence. It then produces maps showing the known locations plus predicted locations. The climate profiles are based on a determination, for each known point, of 12 climatic parameters derived from monthly values for temperature and precipitation:

1. annual mean temperature 2. minimum temperature of the coldest month 3. maximum temperature of the hottest month 16

4. annual temperature range (3-2) 5. mean temperature of the wettest quarter (3 months) 6. mean temperature of the driest quarter 7. annual mean precipitation

8. precipitation of the driest month 9. precipitation of the wettest month 10. annual precipitation range (8-9)

11. precipitation of the wettest quarter 12. precipitation of the driest quarter The profiles are matched with the climate determined for each point of a 0.5-degree latitude by longitude grid of Australia (other grids may be made available). The degree of similarity in climate between the species profile and each grid point is noted. All points are plotted on a map, e.g. Fig. 2.

Figure 2 BIOCL1M PLOT FOR BANKSIA DENTATA L.f.

LEGEND site of species collection prediction within 90 percentile range prediction between 90 percent and total range

17

The predictive map is immediately useful. For example, the maps can assist decisions about whether apparently disjunct distributions are likely, or are merely artifacts of collecting patterns. The maps can suggest new areas for field work. The predicted distributions may suggest areas where a new species might be expected or indicate where a closely-related species may be found. These suggested uses of the predicted distributions have arisen from the study of a range of species used in the development of BIOCLIM. The taxa covered included snakes, mammals and plants.

The BIOCLIM system is not restricted to biological species. The known points of occurrence could be for genera, families or vegetation types; in fact, any set of geographically-determined locations which could be expected to be influenced by climate may be used.

BIOCLIM produces not only maps but also a variety of climatic data determined for the ‘species' in the form of tables and cumulative frequency curves. These data are the product of explicitly-defined relationships between geographic points and climate. These precise definitions are amenable to testing or modification. Questions such as “what if temperatures were 3 C lower . . . ?’ can be explored for their geographical consequences. The results of studies of single species can be tested against the climatic parameters which define the known range for a species.

Details of BIOCLIM can be obtained from the Director. Bureau of Flora and Fauna.

18

APPENDIX I

Staff of the Bureau of Flora and Fauna, as at 30-6-84 Director Dr P. Bridgewater Secretary Ms S. Palmer

Fauna Section

Dr B. J. Richardson Dr D. W. Walton Mr R. Longmore

Dr J. Godsell

Flora Section

Mr A. S. George Dr H. J. Hewson Mr A. D. Chapman Mrs G. Sriprakash

Biogeography j A DP Section

Dr R. J. Hnatiuk Mr D. M. L. Berman D rJ. R. Busby Mr C. Curtis Ms W. Riley Mrs C. Rombouts

Community Employment Program

Mr W. Fry Ms C. Wolter Ms Ha Diep

Administration Section

Mr G. V. W. Brandt Mr R. McElwee Mrs B. Wick

APPENDIX II

Preferred Objectives for 1984

A. PREFERRED OBJECTIVES—Taxa needing research before satisfactory treat­ ments may be prepared for ABRS publications.

1. Taxonomic research on the Australian flora, especially the following groups— Asteraceae (especially Inuleae), Cyperaceae, Epacridaceae, Fabaceae (especially Mirbelieae, Bossiaea), Myrtaceae (excluding Eucalyptus), Orchidaceae, Pro- teaceae, Bryophyta.

2. Taxonomic research on the Australian fauna, especially the following groups— Phyla Protozoa, Porifera, Cnidaria (except corals), Platyhelminthes, and Class Polychaeta.

B. PUBLICATIONS AND DATA BASE OBJECTIVES deal with data preparation for the Flora o f Australia, Zoological Catalogue o f Australia and the Australian Biogeographic Information System (ABIS), including the preparation of distri­ bution atlases for selected taxa. Details of these objectives were available on application to the Bureau of Flora and Fauna.

20

APPENDIX III

AUSTRALIAN BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES STUDY— GRANTS AWARDED FOR 1984

AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY Elix, J. A.- A taxonomic revision of Parmelia subgen. Xanthoparmelia in Australasia. $19 740

Gullan, P. J.—Taxonomic revision of coccids. $4 800

Watson, L.—Preparation of automated taxonomic descriptions and keys for the eu-panicoid grasses of Australia. $22 813

CSIRO—DIVISION OF ENTOMOLOGY Cardale, J. C.—Preparation of data on Apoidea for the Zoological Catalogue. $10 300

Key, K.—Revision of Morabine Grasshopper Taxa. $700

Lawrence, J. F.—Preparation of data on Coleoptera: Carabidae for the Zoological Catalogue. $5 600

Lawrence, J. F.—Preparation of data on Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea for the Zoological Catalogue. $5 600

Taylor, K.—Taxonomy and biology of psillids. $1 200

HERBARIUM AUSTRALIENSE Eichler, Hj.—Taxonomic revision of Hydrocotyie (Apiaceae) in Australia $2 000

ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS Fox, M. D.—Vegetation Survey western N.S.W. $3 000

CSIRO—DIVISION OF FISHERIES RESEARCH Rainer, S. F.—Systematics of N.W. Shelf polychaetes. $24 086

NATIONAL HERBARIUM OF N.S.W.

Blaxell, D. F.—Formal publication of the ‘eucalypt’ genera and con­ sequent new combinations. $7 000

McGillivray, D. J.—A revision of the genus Grevillea (Proteaceae). $5 000 Powell, J. M.—Taxonomic revision of the genus Leucopogon (Epacri- daceae). $22 214

Thompson, J.—A revision of the genus Leptospermum (Myrtaceae). $22 000 Tindale, M. D.—Taxonomic studies in Australian species of Acacia (Mimosaceae). $5 000

Weston, P. H.—Computerise eucalypt specimen records. $20 000

Wilson, K. L.—Revision of the genera Lepidosperma and Schoenus (Cyperaceae) in Australia. $5 000

AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM Hutchings, P. A.—Revision of Terebellomorpha: Polychaeta. $20 550 Lowry, J. K.—Preparation of data on Malacostraca (Part 1) for the Zoological Catalogue. $21 100

Paxton, J. R.—Preparation of data on Australian fishes for the Zoological Catalogue. $14 200

Rudman, W. B.—Generic revision of nudibranchs. $13 800

21

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND Rhode, K.—Taxonomy of marine Monogenea. $10 000

UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY Carolin, R. C., Morrison, D. A.- Revision of Lechenaultia (Good- eniaceae). $15 000

CONSERVATION COMMISSION OF N T.

Dunlop, C. R.—Computerise Herbarium of the Northern Territory (Darwin) label data; adjunct to Alice Springs data base. $7 000

Thompson, B. G.—Computerise Herbarium of the Northern Territory (Alice Springs). $19 840

CSIRO—DIVISION OF FOREST RESEARCH Hyland, B. P. M.—Rainforest Proteaceae for Flora o f Australia. $600

DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES—QLD Drew, R. A. I.—Taxonomy of Strepsiptera. $5 000

QUEENSLAND HERBARIUM Clarkson, J. R.—Flora/vegetation Survey, Cape York. $17 500

Henderson. R. J. F.—Contributions to Liliaceae for Flora o f Australia. $2 218 Johnson, R. W.—Taxonomic revisions in Convolvulaceae. $2 300

Pedley, L.—Revision of Acacia ser. Microneurae and ser. Heterophyllum (Mimosaceae) in Australia. $3 700

Simon, B. K.—Revision of Aristida (Poaceae) in Australia. $2 630

AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF MARINE SCIENCE Wilkinson, C. R.—Taxonomy of dictyoceratid Sponges. $10 000

QUEENSLAND MUSEUM Bartholomai, A.—Computerize specimen label data (mammals . . . ). $15 000 Cannon, L. R. G.—Suprageneric key to the Turbellaria. $9 500

QUEENSLAND INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL RESEARCH Domrow, R.—Checklist of dermanyssid mites of vertebrates. $16 976

UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND Clifford, Η. T.—Accounts of Liliaceae (part) and Smilacaceae (whole) for Flora o f Australia. $250

Greenwood, J. G. — Taxonomy of Pteropods; Opisthobranchiata. $21 000 Willan, R. C.—Queensland nudibranch survey. $1 800

STATE HERBARIUM OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA Bell, G. H. -Revisional study of Pottiaceae (Musci: Bryophyta) in Australia. $9 900

Chinnock. R. J. -Revision of Eremophila (Myporaceae). $9 000

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM Greenslade, P. J .- Preparation of data on Collembolla for the Zoological Catalogue. $17 000

Watts, C. H. S.—Taxonomy of vespertilionid bats. $9 300

UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE Nobbs, J. M.- Plant parasitic nematodes. $3 800

22

TASMANIAN HERBARIUM Orchard, A. E .— F lora accounts of sub-Antarctic islands. $1 000

Orchard, A. E.—Curation of the G. C. Bratt lichen collection. $2 000

UNIVERSITY OF TASMANIA Crowden, R. K.—Studies of the E p a cris ta sm a n ic a complex (Epacri- daceae). $930

Morris, D. I.— T he S tu d e n t's F lo ra o f T a sm a n ia . $1 284

NATIONAL HERBARIUM OF VICTORIA Short, P. S.—Biosystematic studies in Australian Gnaphaliinae (Aste- raceae: Inuleae). $3 000

ARTHUR RYLAH INSTITUTE Menkhorst, P. W.—Mammal atlas of Victoria. $19 300

MUSEUM OF VICTORIA Lu, C. C.—Preparation of data on Cephalopoda (part) for the Zoological Catalogue. $8 000

Poore, G. C. B.—Preparation of data on Malacostraca (part 2) for the Zoological Catalogue. $9 000

Poore, G. C. B.—Taxonomy of Anthuridea (Isopoda). $23 600

Wilson, B. R.—Computerize vertebrate records. $27 100

UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE Brook, A. J.—Amphibian atlas project. $500

Stone, I. G.—A taxonomic revision of Australian tropical moss genera (Bryophyta). $2 400

Wetherbee, R., Blaze, K. L.—Taxonomy and biogeography of marine phytoplankton from the Bass Strait. $9 500

MONASH UNIVERSITY Scott, G. A. M.—Taxonomic revision of Fossombronia and other liverwort genera in Australia (Bryophyta). $19 822

WESTERN AUSTRALIAN WILDLIFE RESEARCH CENTRE Hopper, S. D.—Flora survey, E. Roe botanical district, W.A. $33 000

Hopper, S. D .— B a n k sia A tla s . $32 500

WESTERN AUSTRALIAN HERBARIUM Maslin, B. R.—The elucidation of new and poorly known species of A ca c ia with special reference to sect. P h yllo d in ea e. $22 334

Trudgen, Μ. E.—Revisionary studies, B a e c k e a complex (Myrtaceae). $10 500

WESTERN AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM Berry, P. F.—Biogeographic study of Nullarbor Region. $6 475

Kitchener, D. J.—Revision of Nycticeius & Eptesicus bats. $4 000

UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA Grieve, B. J .— H o w to K n o w W estern A u stra lia n W ildflow ers. $500

Main, B. Y.—Taxonomy of mygalomorph spiders. $18 078

UNATTACHED Baynes, A.—Distribution of mammals of W.A. $15 000

Green, P. S.—Floras of Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands (vascular plants). $20 000

23

Harvey, M. S.—Revision of geogarypine pseudoscorpions. $19 000 Jones, D. L.—Preparation of miscellaneous orchid genera for F lo ra o f A u stra lia . $7 500

Michaelis, F. B.—Trial data base for Australian Trichoptera. $250

Southcott, R. V. -Revisions of parasitic mites and scorpions. $7 200

24