Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Gibbs, Lilian Suzette (England 1870-1925)
botany, field biology

Although little remembered at this point, Lilian Gibbs was among the most remarkable field naturalists of her, or any, time. A woman of independent means with a remarkable facility for learning languages, she spent a good portion of her life organizing and leading botanical field expeditions to some of the most remote and inaccessible places on earth, along the way becoming a leading authority on high altitude vegetation and floras. Among the places she visited were Iceland, the Arfak Mountains of New Guinea, Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Fiji, New Zealand, Queensland, Tasmania, and last but not least Mt. Kinabalu in Sabah, where she became the first woman to make the ascent to the summit. The plant genus Gibbsia was named after her. The results of her expeditions were published in sometimes rather lengthy works in the Journal of the Linnean Society, Journal of Botany, Journal of Ecology, and Annals of Botany.

Life Chronology

--born in London, England, on 10 September 1870.
--1899-1901: trains at the Swanley Horticultural College
--1901: enrolls in the Dept. of Botany at the Royal College of Science
--1905: botanical trip to Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)
--1905: elected a fellow of the Linnean Society
--1907: botanical trip to Fiji and New Zealand
--1910: awarded the Huxley Gold Medal and Prize for research of the Royal College of Science
--1910: becomes the first woman to reach the summit of Mt. Kinabalu, Sabah
--1910: elected to the Royal Microscopical Society
--1912: botanical trip to Iceland
--1913: botanical trip to the East Indies, including Dutch New Guinea
--1914: publishes "A Contribution to the Flora and Plant Formations of Mount Kinabalu and the Highlands of British North Borneo" in the Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany
--1917: publishes her A Contribution to the Phytogeography and Flora of the Arfak Mountains
--1919: elected to the Royal Geographical Society
--dies at Santa Cruz, Tenerife, on 30 January 1925.

For Additional Information, See:

--The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, Vol. 1 (2000).
--Proceedings of the Linnean Society for 1924-1925: 72-74.
--Journal of Botany, Vol. 63 (1925): 85, 116-117.
--Nature, Vol. 115 (1925): 345.
--Taxonomic Literature, Supplement VIII (2009).

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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