BY BERNARD TOLANI DADA, Uyo
The vice chancellor of University of Uyo, in Akwa Inom State Professor Nyangudo Ndaeyo has assured that his administration would organise more inaugural lectures to enrich and expand humanity’s spheres of knowledge.
Ndaeyo stated this at the weekend during the 79th inaugural lecture of the university delivered by a professor of Biosystematics, in the Department of Botany and Ecological Studies, Prof Margaret Bassey, titled, “The Plant Detective: Unmasking the Unknown” held at the 1000 capacity TETFUND auditorium of the university along Nwanniba road, Uyo.
The vice chancellor explained that the primary function of a university professor, is teaching, however, in order to teach effectively the professor ought to conduct series of research.
“I can recall when I took over last year, I gave the assurance that we will continue to maintain the relationship between the town and the gown, the relationship is the reason why we are gathered here today,” he said.
Earlier the inaugural lecturer, Prof Margaret Bassey said proper identification and classification of plants is necessary and important. According to her the knowledge of a plant is fundamental to knowing everything that ought to be known about such a plant, adding that such knowledge is needed not to misdirect science.
She said a Biosystematist operates like a police detective in the sense that he or she investigates an unknown plant (suspect) by collecting facts and details surrounding it with the purpose of solving the puzzle or unmasking its identity.
“The responsibility of a Biosystematist today includes plant collection, identification, description or diagnosis, nomenclature and classification based on phylogeny.
“The knowledge of plant is fundamental to knowing all that is to be known about a plant. Plant names are important to scientists and non-scientists who study the practical uses of plants. A proper identification of such a plant is crucial in order not to misinform science,” the professor said.
She noted that the important role of a plant detective in providing identification of plants cannot be over-emphasized adding that a plant that may not be useful today may be found to hold some very important answers to pressing questions in the near future.
The inaugural lecturer stated that as powerful as the techniques of molecular systematics have been in solving taxonomic issues, there is still the need for more modular data for botanists to interpret them and there is also more field-works to be undertaken.
She argued that a comprehensive understanding of plant morphology is needed to enable broad evolutionary questions to be answered with a degree of confidence.