Macquarie University Honorary Senior Lecturer Helen Ramsay named as a member of the Order of Australia

25 June 2019


Macquarie University Honorary Senior Lecturer Helen Ramsay has been named as a Member of the Order of Australia as part of the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

The prestigious honour was awarded to Dr Ramsay in recognition of her significant service to plant science.

Dr Ramsay, who is also affiliated with Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, is an expert on bryology – the study of mosses, liverworts and hornworts.

She pioneered cytological investigation on mosses in Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Canada. Subsequently, her areas of research expanded to include cytotaxonomy and general studies on mosses. The Flora of Australia Project under the Australian Biological Resources Study in Canberra led to further taxonomic revisions and publications including contributions to the first volume on Australian Mosses.

“It has always been my aim to advance knowledge of bryophytes, particularly mosses, and their significance in rainforests. The establishment of the Australasian Bryological Newsletter as co-author with Patricia Selkirk at Macquarie University has helped bring attention to Bryophyte studies in the wider botanical community. Since my retirement, publications dealing with the distribution and taxonomy of mosses in Australia and more detailed studies such as work on mosses of the wet tropics of northeast Queensland is improving our knowledge of Australian mosses. Continued collaboration with overseas and Australian researchers enables me to continue my research.”

Dr Ramsay is renowned as a generous mentor for younger scientists. Her publications include censuses of the mosses of New South Wales, the ACT and Lord Howe Island. She has made significant collections of Australian mosses: these are in the National Herbarium of New South Wales and the John Ray Herbarium at the University of New South Wales.

Although she formally retired in 1984, Dr Ramsay continues to be active in her chosen field, with her most recent publication, A revised checklist of the moss flora of the Australian Wet Tropics, appearing in 2019.

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