| Hong Liu
Department of Earth and Environment, AHC5-387
International Center for Tropical Botany (ICTB) Florida International University
Center for Tropical Plant Conservation (CTPC)
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
|Dr Hong Liu is a tenured Professor in the Department of Earth and Environment, Florida International University (FIU). She is a conservation ecologist whose research focuses on generating insights that can guide conservation and management efforts for endangered plant species. Her current research addresses important environmental issues such as the impact of global changes on rare orchid populations as well as the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of heavily exploited plant species. She has first authored or co-authored over 80 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters mostly published in top journals such as Conservation Biology and Biological Conservation.
Dr Liu’s research on wild orchid conservation has served to support various biodiversity conservation initiatives internationally. She led the organisation of the first three Guangxi International Orchid Symposium, China, in 2009, 2010, and 2012, which promoted and facilitated dialogues among nature reserve managers, biodiversity researchers and policymakers. In particular, the inaugural symposium successfully drew the attention of several key Chinese national biodiversity conservation officials to a remote yet important orchid-rich area and expedited the establishment of a national nature reserve – the Guangxi Yachang Orchid National Nature Preserve. Together with colleagues, her research on the wild orchid trade in China, both online and offline, generated important quantitative data for the region. She was able to apply her research on the wild orchid trade to the Red List assessment of Chinese orchids, pointing out the significant underestimation of the threats to Chinese orchids from unregulated trade. She has also contributed to the critical revision process of the List of National Key Protected Wild Plants of China, a list similar to the US Federal Endangered Species. She has served as a member of the IUCN SSC Orchid Specialist Group since 2010 and the wild orchid trade subgroup since 2016, under the IUCN umbrella.
|Martin R. Motes
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
|Martin R. Motes, Ph.D., a Research Associate at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, has maintained a lifelong interest in the genus Vanda. He began collecting new hybrids from Hawaii and Singapore in the late 1950s. While in high school, he imported Vanda species from India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand in to select the best flowered forms for hybridisation and propagation. His career in horticulture was disrupted by the war in Vietnam. Following a Ph.D., and teaching stints in Ohio and Kosovo, he returned to Florida to resume breeding with the remnants of his Vanda collection.
By the mid-1970’s, Thailand became the center of Vanda breeding, thanks to Rapee Sagarik’s pioneering work. As only a limited number of species were being used for breeding, Martin recognised the potential of other Vanda species, and initiated a breeding program to introduce them to modern bloodlines. His results and experiences were published in the American Orchid Society Bulletin, and the book Vandas, their History, Botany and Culture. Martin’s unique and striking hybrids won all of the medals in the initial international judging at the 18th World Orchid Conference, with his V. Mary Motes voted Best in Show and awarded a Gold Medal.
Martin, together with Dr David Roberts and Dr Lauren Gardiner of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, produced a monograph of Vanda. This research resulted in Martin identifying V. alicae, a previously undescribed species, based on a drawing by J.J. Smith, and led him to Bacan Island where he located a cultivated source which provided the type specimen of V. alicae. He also discovered Rumphius’ V. furva and V. saxatilis on the island of Ceram, and V. bartholomewii in the South Moluccas.
Martin wrote the cultural notes on Aeridinae in Genera Orchidacearum VI and continues breeding hybrids and improving Vanda species.
Honorary Research Associate
Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney
|Philip John Spence is a printing engineer by training and an orchidologist at heart. His lifelong interest in orchids began in his teenage years in the 1950s. Since his first after-school job at a Cymbidium nursery, he has co-managed or owned three orchid nurseries including his current company, Orchid Productions. Between 1998 to 2001, Phil was tasked with establishing a research centre at the National Capital Botanical Gardens in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and was the Gardens’ manager for the last year.
During the last 50-odd years Phil has produced thousands of hybrids from which he has registered hundreds of selected crosses. His orchid breeding programme has helped attract international attention for Australian native orchids, and in doing so helped to conserve the species in the wild.
Having made over 150 trips to Papua New Guinea, Phil has managed to describe several new species and documented, illustrated, and pressed the flowers for his own collection. These flowers, once pressed, are digitally scanned and combined with the drawings into a single file, making it easy to archive and share this information across institutions.
Phil’s work has been published in respected peer-reviewed journals and presented at local and international conferences. He was invited to the position of Honorary Research Associate at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, in recognition of his invaluable contributions to orchid research and cultivation.
Phil is currently conducting a breeding program to develop cooler growing orchids suitable for the climate of Sydney, which involves using tissue culture methods to germinate the seeds of most of the species in his collection that belong to Dendrobium section Latouria.
|Yao-Chien Alex Chang
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
National Taiwan University
|Dr Yao-Chien Alex Chang developed a passion for orchids at the age of 11, which eventually led him to pursue a B.S. and M.S. in horticulture at National Taiwan University and a Ph.D. in floriculture at Cornell University. He then devoted himself to orchid research and extension and currently holds the position of professor and department chair at National Taiwan University. His research focuses on mineral nutrition, plant physiology, flowering regulation, postharvest processes, and tissue culture of orchid crops. The results of his applied research have been widely adopted by orchid growers worldwide, including medium fertility monitoring by pour-through and the Delta-T WET sensor, using 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) to protect orchids from ethylene injuries, and flowering regulation of phalaenopsis and oriental cymbidium. His scientific research was recognised by the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS), with its Kenneth Post Award (three times), and the ASHS Ornamental Publication Award. He has also received the Award of Academic Contribution and the Award of Business Contribution from the Taiwan Society for Horticultural Science (TSHS). His enthusiasm for orchid education has earned him the Award of Excellent Teaching (Top 10%) five times and the Award of Outstanding Teaching (Top 1%) by the National Taiwan University.
Dr Chang is currently a Board Member of the International Society of Horticultural Science (ISHS) and the TSHS. Dr Chang is also actively involved in the World Orchid Conferences and Asia Pacific Orchid Conferences. Over the years, he has delivered many keynote and invited speeches. He was the Convener of the three-day 2021 Virtual World Orchid Conference (originally scheduled for March 2020 as the 23rd WOC), which attracted nearly 500 participants. He is currently serving as the Convener again for the 23rd WOC, which will be held in February 25-28, 2024 in Tainan, Taiwan.
Plant Taxonomy and Conservation Researcher
School of Biology
Institute of Science
Suranaree University of Technology
|Dr Santi Watthana started his career as a plant taxonomist at the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden in 1992. He obtained a Ph.D. scholarship to read Systematics and Ecology at the University of Copenhagen, working on the genus Pomatocalpa Breda, and was conferred his doctorate in 2005. Following that, he focused on Thai orchid taxonomy and conservation at the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden until 2015, when he relocated to take up a lectureship in Taxonomy and Conservation at the Biological School, Institute of Science, Suranaree University of Technology, Thailand.
During his work at the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, he was responsible for the orchid living collection and database, as well as conducting field work across Thailand to discover native Thai orchid species. He has co-authored several Thai orchid books published by the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden. He has published several papers on orchid taxonomy, ecology and conservation, and contributed accounts on the genera Callostylis, Eria, Geodorum, Nervilia, and Porpax for the Flora of Thailand.
He has emphasised community involvement in his orchid conservation work. He set up the Blue Vanda Village in Chiang Mai Province together with the local community, teaching and supporting the local people in native orchid conservation. This village has now become a learning base for orchid propagation for youths and tourists.
Chair of Agribusiness Department
Indonesia Orchid Society
|Novianto was born in Surabaya, Indonesia in 1972 and moved to the highlands of Kota Batu in 1984 when his father decided to give up his business in Surabaya and start a new life in farming. Soerjanto Orchid was established in 1986, and since then Novianto has been involved in the business. In 1991 he joined the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Muhammadiyah Malang, with a focus on horticultural production. He joined the Indonesian Orchid Society of Malang to expand his network and gather knowledge from other members. In 1996-1997, he took an internship in the Netherlands and learned how the orchid industry operates in a modern country, including grower cooperation. When he returned home, he established an orchid supply chain in East Java and Bali. The young plants were produced in East Java and then raised and sold in Bali. He was the Chair of the Indonesian Orchid Society of Malang from 2015 to 2020, and was also active in orchid judging and directing the East Java Orchid Academy. In 2021, he took on a new role as the chair of Agribusiness Development of the national board of the Indonesian Orchid Society, a role he will hold until 2026, with the main goal of breaking down export barriers.