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Plant hunting
That's me - plant hunting, of course!
 
Netscape
 
 
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Microsoft
 
 
    Who am I?
 
Peanut blossom
Peanut
(Arachis hypogaea)

 
  I am Eva Maria Temsch, a passionate botanist. Besides my major, Botany, I enjoy Genetics, the minor branch of my studies. As you might have guessed by now, the topic of my master thesis was genome size in the genus Sphagnum. The topic of my Ph. D. was genome size variations in cultivated peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) and some of their wild relatives (Arachis duranensis and Arachis monticola), as well as testing a new type of immersion gel that has never before been used in microscopy.
   I'm also privileged to hold a job at the Department of Karyology and Embryology at the Institute of Botany of the University of Vienna. My present work there involves mainly the Hyacinth family (Hyacinthaceae).

 
 
How did I Become Interested in Botany?
 
Maybe it all started in my grandfather's garden. I loved that oasis of beauty and tranquility, and admired my grandfather's proficiency in cropping trees and tending his rock garden. Still, when I was a child, I was much more interested in animals than in plants. I used to spend hours watching the bustling life among the grass, and once shocked my sister by making a home for 38 caterpillars among her dresses.
   Making a profession out of my interest in biology, I became a chemist, with particular interests in biochemistry and microbiology. For the next 11 years I enjoyed working with human cells at a research lab at a medical department of the University of Vienna.
   One day, as I was leafing through a catalogue, I discovered the existence of plant cell lines and methods of their cultivation. Somehow, I was so fascinated by this prospect that I began to read all botanical papers I could get my fingers on. I had then found my ideal profession: a botanist who can enjoy the outdoors while still being able to do scientific research in a laboratory!

 
 
  Fessia greilhuberi
Fessia greilhuberi
 
    How did I get Hooked on Peat Moss?
 
Sphagnum
Sphagnum teres
 
  Early during my botanical studies, I had to prepare a presentation about bogs. I liked this topic because it covered an entire ecological system, and helped me understand the interdependencies of its components.
   When a Sphagnum-related topic was offered to me as my master's thesis, I agreed immediately. So, like many other people, I got to my special field more or less by incidence. The more I found out about it, the more exciting it became to me. I love to put on my rubber boots and walk around bogs, taking pictures and collecting peat moss samples, and then return to the lab, do all kinds of interesting tests, and discover exciting new things.

 
 
My Cats: Palm Tree and Herb
 
Quite a few years ago I bred Siamese cats. Now I enjoy the company of Bassi and Bucco, two brothers from the last litter. When they were born, I was already dreaming of becoming a botanist, so I named them "Babassu", after a Brazilian palm tree (Orbignya phalerata), and "Bucco", after an African medicinal herb (Barosma betulina). I guess they are lucky that I had not yet become involved in Sphagnum at that time, otherwise they might have ended up being called "Balticum" and "Brevifolium"!
   My two cats love each other. Bucco is the leader, particularly when it comes to getting into mischief. He is the one who works out the route to a hidden box of treats, and Bassi, the unsuspecting follower, might be caught stealing them. But they are both so adorable that I couldn't possibly be angry with them!

 
 
  Siamese cat
My tomcat Bassi
as a baby

 
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