Flora Malesiana Symposium Edinburgh 2016

Article by Dr. Daniele Cicuzza

The Flora Malesiana Symposium is organized by the Flora Malesiana Foundation every three years. The Symposium’s aim is to underline the production of Flora Malesiana, a series of books devoted to the state of the art knowledge of plant diversity in the Malaysia region. The Symposium also intends to contribute towards the use of new technology (e-flora, phylogeny, DNA-Barcoding) for taxonomic studies, conservation purposes as well as a tool for public engagement.

Newly appointed Assistant Professor of lower plant biology/ taxonomy and diversity at UBD, Dr Daniele Cicuzza, recently attended the 2016 Flora Malesiana Symposium. His research is focused primarily on fern diversity taxonomy and ecology in the Brunei forest. Within the Flora Malesiana Project, Dr Cicuzza’s contribution is to produce a fern revision for the Osmundaceae family. Osmundaceae is a small ancient fern family with not more than 15 species occurring in South East Asia, some of the species being relatively common. One species is in danger of extinction whereas the remaining species have not been assessed on the threatened status. The book volume with Dr Cicuzza’s contributions will be ready by the end of 2018 and possibly presented at the next Flora Malesiana Symposium, 2019.

Dr Cicuzza had the opportunity to present an oral presentation during the “Conservation” session at the symposium. The presentation was related to his previous project on “Impact of fragmentation and change in forest structure on fern species richness in the Xishuangbanna tropical forest, China”. This work was carried out at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Yunnan, China.

From his involvement in the symposium, Dr Cicuzza is now part of the already long-established collaboration between UBD and BRUN Herbarium with Royal Botanic Garden Kew and Edinburgh. The Royal Botanic Garden in London and Edinburgh will collaborate and help towards Dr Cicuzza’s research on fern diversity in Brunei via support with the exchange of old distribution records, images of vouchers specimens and other information. These are crucial for a complete and comprehensive revision of Osmundaceae family plus floristic study of ferns of Brunei.

As an academic member of UBD and FOS, Dr Cicuzza is also a member of the Flora Malesiana Board, representing UBD and Brunei for the Malaysia region. The Flora Malesiana Project includes Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore and Timor East. UDB will co-host the prestigious Flora Malesiana Symposium in 2019, bringing the university to the international stage of biodiversity research and conservation in the Malay region.

UDB has been proposed to co-host the next Flora Malesiana Symposium in 2019. The Flora Malesiana committee has approved and the proposal has been approved as well from the UBD AVC (GA) office. Organize a Flora Malesiana Symposium will bring UBD on the international stage of biodiversity research and conservation in the Malay region. I would be delighted to lead the Organizing committee for this Symposium, moreover there will be a crucial help from UBD administration and volunteers students.

Terrestrial Polypodiaceae (Loxogramme sp.) in the Xishuangbanna Prefecture, south of Yunnan, China. It is the northern distribution for a species common in the Malay region

Lindsaceae (Lindsaea sp.) terrestrial species growing on mossy forest above 2000 meter in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Dipteridaceae, Cheiropleuria bicuspis - a mountain terrestrial species found in shaded places. Characteristic for its leaf morphology.

Plagiogyriaceae (Plagiogyria sp.) a common fern on high mountain sites. Like many other ferns species, juvenile leaves are red in colour, turning green when they are mature.