Isabelle I. Tavares

Dr. Isabelle Tavares died on May 21, 2011. Dr. Tavares had been associated with the University Herbarium for 59 years. Her academic career began at City College of Los Angeles, was interrupted by service in the Women's Army Corps during World War II, and continued at Berkeley after the War. She received B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California. For her doctoral dissertation, conducted under the guidance of Professor Lee Bonar, she investigated the Laboulbeniales, an order of minute fungi that parasitize insects. This research continued after her dissertation and eventually resulted in her magnum opus: The Laboulbeniales, published in 1985. She began working in the University Herbarium while still in graduate school, and continued uninterruptedly until long past her retirement in 1993. She curated the fungi (including lichens) and the bryophytes, and participated in all day-to-day operations of the Herbarium. Curating lichens led her to her second major research interest: the taxonomy of Usnea, a widespread and notoriously taxonomically difficult genus of lichens. Dr. Tavares was extensively involved in the California Botanical Society, especially in editing its journal Madroño. She was a founding member of the California Lichen Society, and an active promoter of California lichenology.