International Association for Lichenology

Thomas Hawkes Nash III

Thomas Hawkes Nash III

Thomas Hawkes Nash III was born in Arlington (Virginia) in 1945. His scientific career started in the late 1960s at Duke University where he received a B. Sc. in 1967. Subsequently, he went to Rutgers University to receive his M.Sc. and Ph. D. in Botany and Statistics. Soon after graduating from Rutgers, he was appointed as an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University in Tempe. There he spent almost 40 years of his scientific career.

He is unique among lichenologists for his versatility and interdisplinary research that includes different fields, such as ecophysiology, ecology, taxonomy and floristics and more applied research areas, such as bio-monitoring. Recently, he has become very interested in modern approaches to data-basing of collections and taxonomic information. He has made significant contributions in each of these fields. Given his broad interests, it is no surprise that Tom Nash took the lead in editing a textbook on “Lichen Biology”. This has been recently published in a second, enlarged edition, which is quite remarkable for a textbook on lichens!

His list of publications (that includes more than 150 original articles) is impressive, since it covers a wide array of research fields within lichenology and a successful textbook, but also by achieving his magnum opus that most of his colleagues thought would never be possible: a modern and comprehensive account of the Greater Sonoran Desert region. With this three volume flora, he has clearly demonstrated how persistent and – in a good way – stiff-necked he is and that he has the talent to organize large-scale projects.

The Sonoran Desert project included 92 collaborators from 23 countries. As I know from personal experience, Tom was never shy to remind contributors that their contributions were due or to suggest additional genera that might be covered by contributors. The endeavor of a lichen flora for a region that was poorly known before Tom started would not have been possible without Tom’s dedication to fieldwork and collecting. He vastly enlarged the lichen herbarium at ASU from about 100 specimens when he started in Tempe to one of the most important lichen herbaria in south-western USA with over 110,000 specimens. Further, as a university teacher, Tom was involved in teaching courses and served in committees of over 30 graduate students.

He was also always interested in collaborations and stayed for long and productive periods of time at various research institutes or universities in Europe and Australia to work with colleagues on specific projects. This includes, among many others, Jürgen Kesselmeier (Max Planck Institute, Mainz), Gerhard Rambold (Univ. Bayreuth), Josef Poelt (Univ. Graz), Burkhard Büdel (Univ. Kaiserslautern), Otto Ludwig Lange (Univ. Würzburg) and Jack Elix (Australian National University).

We congratulate Tom Nash for the Acharius medal of the International Association for Lichenology to honour his life-long, outstanding scientific achievements in lichenology. We hope that he will continue to make important contributions to our field of science in the future, after he has left the hot desert climate of Arizona and settled with his wife Corinna Gries in temperate Madison (Wisconsin).

– T. Lumbsch, Chicago 2010