David Leslie Hawksworth
David Leslie Hawksworth is certainly one of the most productive and innovative lichenologists of our time. He has authored (or coauthored) approximately 500 scientific papers and 50 books on Lichenology (including many on non-lichenized fungi or the larger field of Mycology) covering such diverse topics as systematics, nomenclature, ecology, floristics, pollution monitoring, botanical history, biodiversity, and conservation. Some of these publications are basic references, not only in Mycology (including Lichenology), but in broader scientific fields, for example, in estimating the number of fungi on the Earth, in introducing micro-organisms and fungi to international discussions of biodiversity, in developing (with F. Rose) the lichen-based scale for the estimating levels of sulphur dioxide air pollution, and, most especially, in integrating lichens into their appropriate place among the fungi through his work on several editions of the Dictionary of the Fungi, Index of Fungi and Systema Ascomycetum (with O. Eriksson). It was David who revived international research on lichenicolous fungi and was a prime mover in attempts to make botanical, indeed, biological nomenclature more efficient and “user friendly”. Above all, David was persuasive in showing our mycological colleagues that lichenized fungi should not be ignored.
David Hawksworth has also contributed a great deal as a leader in the field of the scientific management. As Director of the International Mycological Institute (CABI) for 14 years (1983–97), David developed the Institute into the world’s premier mycological centre. His participation in the International Union of Biological Sciences (as President from 1994–97) contributed much to the development of programmes in biodiversity and bionomenclature. As a coordinator for the GEF/UNEP Global Biodiversity Assessment, he enhanced an appreciation of the scientific aspects of biodiversity through edited volumes and articles, stressing the importance of an improved understanding of the sustainable use of resources. This aspect of his scientific work has raised the profile of Mycology and Lichenology among the biological sciences. David has been member of numerous important scientific societies and committees, often serving as president, as he has for the British Lichen Society.
Last but not least, David has demonstrated exceptional competence as an editor of scientific journals and books, and his scientific advice is sought world-wide.
Due to his scientific and administrative achievements, David Hawksworth is probably the most visible mycologist in the world. His awareness of almost everything that has been written about lichens and other fungi, his openness to innovation in science, and his enthusiastic helpfulness to colleagues and friends make him a deserving recipient of the Acharius Medal.
– Ernie Brodo & Ana Crespo