Thursday, March 14, 2013

C. L. Shear, Gifted Mycologist, Plant Pathologist and APS Founder.


     C. L. Shear is best remembered for his contributions to systematic mycology in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His reputation as a gifted mycologist began with the publication of three centuries of his exsiccati, New York Fungi, between 1893 and 1896. By 1910, he had become a recognized authority on the Pyrenomycetes. His life history studies, for example, helped untangle confusion in the genus Glomerella. His thorough investigations of Endothia established the Asiatic origin of the chestnut blight fungus. Later, with B.O. Dodge, he would publish a classic paper on Neurospora. There also were many careful studies on fungal nomenclature (10).
Less known, however, are C.L. Shear’s contributions to plant pathology. In the first decades of the twentieth century, at a time when plant pathology was rapidly gaining acceptance and prestige in America, Shear had the expertise to adapt his mycological skills to agriculture. The results were several key investigations of diseases of economic plants with significant contributions to fundamental knowl- edge as well as applied benefits to growers. Moreover, Shear’s excellence as a practitioner in the developing science of plant pathology gave him the credibility and stature to serve as a leader in the science and to become a major figure in the founding of the American Phytopathological Society (APS). Through the efforts of Shear and several other key individuals, the establishment of the APS in 1908 signaled in no small way “that phytopathology was a discipline of growing prominence and one worthy of recognition among the ranks of the biological and agricultural sciences” (2).    Click Here to read more.

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