Conserving our planet's botanical resources and ecosystems

Botanist Margaret Lowman urges children to muddy their boots

Tree queen: Meg Lowman is regarded as the mother of forest canopy research. Photo: Carlton Ward

Tree queen: Meg Lowman is regarded as the mother of forest canopy research. Photo: Carlton Ward

Article from The Sydney Morning Herald:

Unlike other botanists who plant their feet in the dirt, Dr Margaret Lowman pursues high adventure. The so-called ‘‘mother of canopy research’’ has designed walkways and hot-air balloons for the purpose, becoming a legend in the process – another of her nicknames is the ‘‘Einstein of the treetops’’.

The bedrock of her success may well be her 1983 University of Sydney botany doctorate that stemmed from meeting the college’s plant ecology professor then, Peter Myerscough, who was on sabbatical in England while she did her Masters in Scotland.

‘‘He inspired me to apply – and, bingo!’’ says Dr Lowman, 60. Awarded an international scholarship, with Myerscough’s guidance she learned the worth of British-style creative fieldwork.

‘‘It was daunting at first but amazing to tackle something of that magnitude: I literally did not even know what a rainforest looked like – my adviser said, ’Drive north until it turns green.’ I did, and 1000 kilometres later, I was in Queensland,’’ says Dr Lowman, the Chief of Science and Sustainability at California Academy of Sciences, who specialises in canopy biodiversity and ecosystem health.

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