The International Association of Bryologists has awarded its Hattori Prize to Janice Glime, professor emerita of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University, for her online encyclopedia, “Bryophyte Ecology.”
The Hattori Prize recognizes the best paper or series of papers published by a member of the association within the previous two years.
Glime has completed two volumes on this group of diminutive plants that includes mosses, liverworts and hornworts: “Physiological Ecology” and “Bryological Interaction.” A portion of the third (“Methods”) is available online, and she has at least two more volumes pending.
“Bryophyte Ecology” is read worldwide both as a text and reference. While scientifically rigorous, it is written in a conversational style. “I hope to make bryology more accessible to students who have no mentor in the field and to stimulate interest among ecologists, naturalists and educators,” Glime said. “A book such as this is dependent on scientists in many fields, all over the world.”
Glime originally conceived of “Bryophyte Ecology” as a textbook, back in the 1990s. But as bryology advanced by leaps and bounds, she was never able to finish so much as a chapter. Then the Internet came into its own, and the project shifted. In 2007, she began uploading chapters to www.bryoecol.mtu.edu. Her masterwork has two major advantages over a print edition: it offers unlimited color photography, and mistakes are easy to fix, thanks to friendly input from her fellow bryologists and other experts.
Perhaps the most enthusiastic responses, however, have come from bryologists from as far flung as China and Bulgaria, who have thanked her profusely for making such a vast trove of knowledge available.
“Dr. Glime, I think you are one of the most generous and collegial scientists I have (not!) met,” wrote a Canadian bryologist. “You are really an inspiration . . . All my students are thrilled with your online book, and I am, simply, in awe. Thank you.”
It couldn’t be done without a lot of help, Glime stresses. “The Internet and Google have made possible what could not have been done 20 years ago,” she said. “Some of the researchers and photographers have gone the second mile to help me find images and literature. Some have taken pictures for me. Some have offered to review a chapter when it was completed—especially some of the zoologists. And some have even done fieldwork to enhance the information in a particular area. Many have sent me unsolicited pictures and references. I couldn’t have found a better retirement project.”
Glime retired in 2008 after 35 years on the Michigan Tech faculty. She received the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1994 and in 2009 was given the Distinguished Service Award for her longtime dedication to the University Senate and to student success.
by Marcia Goodrich, magazine editor
Published in Tech Today