Eileen J. Cox: her journey with diatoms
Mann, David G.
Eileen already had a keen interest in science during her school years. She studied Botany at Bristol University from 1967–1970, and it was her University teacher, Professor Frank Round, who inspired her interest in diatoms. During her PhD at Bristol under Frank Round’s supervision (1970–1975) she investigated the biology of tube-dwelling diatoms. At the same time, she worked as Departmental Demonstrator in the Botany Department. She left Bristol University in 1976 and became a Claridge Druce Research Fellow at the University of Oxford (1977–1980). Her investigations focused on the genus Navicula and the ultrastructure of diatom cells more generally. From 1979–1980 Eileen took up a post as lecturer at Pembroke College, University of Oxford. In 1980 Eileen moved to Germany and worked as a Royal Society European Exchange Research Fellow at the Litoralstation, Biologische Anstalt Helgoland. Here her studies focused on living diatoms, in particular the genus Donkinia, and she explored the value of live-cell features as diagnostic characters. From 1982–1985 she worked as a Max Planck research fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute at Plön, and from 1985–1988 as a Fellow of the German Research Foundation at the Max-Planck-Institute of Limnology, River Station, in Schlitz. During these years Eileen’s research on Navicula continued, but she also worked on the genera Placoneis, Parlibellus and Pinnularia, and studied relationships between diatom distributions and the environment. In 1989 Eileen returned to the UK to join the University of Sheffield, first as Research Associate, then as NERC Advanced Research Fellow and Honorary Lecturer, and carried out ecotoxicological studies on zooplankton. In 1992 she joined the Natural History Museum as Research Botanist to continue her research on diatoms. Here Eileen made many important contributions to diatom taxonomy and systematics. She carried out important studies on the naviculoid diatoms, and on live diatoms including her novel research on valve morphogenesis. Eileen has been involved in the organisation of many scientific meetings. In 1987 she organized the first meeting of the German-speaking diatomists in Schlitz, Germany, a meeting that has subsequently developed to include a much larger group of scientists from across Europe and from 2020 onwards will be the European Diatom Meeting. Other meetings she has helped organize include those held by the British Phycological Society, British Diatom Meetings, a NorthWest and Midlands Freshwater Group meeting, the Van Heurck Symposium on Taxonomy, a SETAC Europe meeting, a Society for the History of Natural History Meeting, and several European and International Phycological Congresses. Eileen has taught extensively; hosted 7 post-doctoral fellows and many research visitors to the Natural History Museum; supervised 10 PhD students, 4 M.Sc./M.Phil. students, 1 M.Res. student, and 4 final year B.Sc. students; and examined 9 PhDs and 1 DSc. She is currently a member of six learned societies, has refereed manuscripts for 31 scientific journals, has been invited speaker at 32 scientific meetings, gave 28 invited lectures at universities and research institutes, and presented at 56 national and international conferences. Eileen has given great service to several scientific societies, as council member, secretary or president. These include the British Phycological Society (president 2001–2002), the International Society for Diatom Research (president 2000– 112 Pl. Ecol. Evol. 152 (2), 2019 2002), the Systematics Association, and the International Phycological Society. Since 2007 Eileen has been Head of Postgraduate Studies in the Science Directorate of the Natural History Museum. As part of her role she develops and implements the training programmes of students at NHM, is responsible for strategic planning, and coordinates with research and training partners at universities and research institutions across the UK. Eileen is currently Editor in Chief of Diatom Research, and was previously Associate Editor (2011–2014), she is a board member of Fottea (since 2010), was guest co-editor of the Journal of the North American Benthological Society (Special Issue on Ecology of Springs), guest co-editor of the Journal of Limnology (Special Issue on Spring Biodiversity and Conservation), and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Phycology (2004–2009). Private hobbies include gardening, crafts such as cross stitching and sewing, visiting art museums and travelling, especially river and ocean cruises that have taken Eileen and Elliot recently to Alaska, the Caribbean, Germany, the Czech Republic, France and Portugal. Readers may like to read Eileen’s own description of her journey in diatoms, written for the young diatomists’ blog (available at https://youngisdr.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_12. html or in this volume supplementary information).
574 - Ecologia general i biodiversitat
National Botanic Garden of Belgium and Royal Botanical Society of Belgium
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Plant Ecology and Evolution
Jüttner, Ingrid; David G. Mann; Rosa Trobajo; Elliot Shubert. 2019 “Eileen J. Cox: her journey with diatoms”. Plant Ecology and Evolution 152 (2): 111-119. National Botanic Garden of Belgium and Royal Botanical Society of Belgium. doi.org/10.5091/plecevo.2019.1632.
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