Dr David Galloway and wife Patricia Payne with their dog
Lily at home in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Gregor
Dunedin lichenologist Dr David Galloway nearly deleted an
email announcing his election to a prestigious European art and
science body, assuming it was spam.
New Zealand's best known lichen researcher has been elected a
foreign member of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences in
The surprise honour was "quite a distinction", and recognised
that New Zealand lichenology was in "good heart".
New Zealand was a lichen "hot spot" with 10% of the world's
species, while Dunedin was the most lichen-rich city in the
world, Dr Galloway (69) said.
There were only about 85 foreign members of the Swedish
society, to which fewer than 10% of Sweden's professors were
His friend and long-time collaborator Prof Lars Arvidsson is
on the society's council.
Together the pair are researching a genus of Ecuadorian
Dr Galloway's election meant they should be able to publish
their research under theauspices of the society, which would
increase the work's prominence.
Dr Galloway, who has identified thousands of New Zealand
lichen species in his definitive Flora of New Zealand
Lichens, said he had been a pioneer because so little had
been done previously.
He was at heart an ecologist, rather than a species
identifier and compiler, but he was pleased he had set the
scene for the "young guns" in the field to expand on his
Lichenology had given him a fantastic life, including
spending 22 years at London's National History Museum, seven
of which he headed the lichen/bryophyte section.
His wife, retired opera singer Patricia Payne, played an
important role in his career, as her singing career took her
to the great centres of Europe, where he had been able to
research lichen while supporting her.
Ignored and relegated by science for too long, lichen were
finally coming in to their own as important barometers of
pollution and biological markers of many things.
They also had anti-cancer and other health properties.
He is working on a book on lichen for the uninitiated, to be
published by the end of next year.
Dr Galloway is a research associate at Landcare Research.