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A tribute to Sally E. Smith

Abstract : Prof. Sarah (Sally) E. Smith, a long‐standing New Phytologist Advisory Board member, and friend to the journal, died in September 2019. Sally will be remembered not only for her outstanding body of work, but for her friendship, mentorship and leadership of the mycorrhizal research community. By way of tribute we invited colleagues of Sally to share their recollections, and we publish this Virtual Issue in her memory. Sally was born in 1941, and received Bachelor and PhD degrees from Cambridge University, UK, before relocating to Adelaide, Australia in the late 1960s, alongside her husband Andrew (FA) Smith. Upon arrival in Adelaide, Sally undertook a number of positions at the University of Adelaide’s Botany Department, followed by research work at the Waite Research Institute. In 1991 she was appointed Senior Lecturer in the Department of Soil Science, and she received a Doctorate of Science from the University of Adelaide that same year. Sally was appointed Professor in 1995. Sally was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2001, and, among numerous awards, she received an Australian Centenary Medal for contribution to Australian society and services to biology (2003), the Taylor (2006) and Prescott (2012) medals of the Australian Society of Soil Science, and the International Mycorrhiza Society’s Eminent Mycorrhiza Researcher Award (2019). Sally was also Honorary Professor at the Research Centre for Eco‐Environmental Sciences (Chinese Academy of Sciences), and an Honorary Research Professor at the Chinese Agricultural University, Beijing. Sally officially retired in 2006, but remained very active, holding an Adjunct and later Emeritus Chair at the University of Adelaide, contributing to many international meetings, including the 2014, 33rd New Phytologist Symposium ‘Networks of Power and Influence: Ecology and Evolution of Symbioses between Plants and Mycorrhizal Fungi’ (Bender et al., 2014), and continuing to act as an Advisory Board Member at New Phytologist, providing much‐valued critical insight and advice to our Editors. Her reviews, even when she disagreed, were always supportive and positive; she often provided much detailed advice and her large view of the literature to the authors. In January 2019, New Phytologist published a Profile of Sally (Smith, 2019), which outlines her achievements in more detail, but importantly, it also highlights her many personal qualities. In the profile, Sally outlined the successes and challenges she faced throughout her career, but she also dwells on the many friendships and relationships she developed; her warmth, and generosity, is evident throughout the piece, and also in the personal recollections outlined below (Fig. 1). In a way, Sally is still here with us. We are still prepared to hear her unforgettable voice at conferences; we still use the precious and irreplaceable textbook ‘Mycorrhizal symbiosis’ she wrote with David Read, which will forever remind us of the first steps of our research community and the broad view she had of the symbiosis (Smith & Read, 2008). Sally will be greatly missed, as a scientist, friend, colleague and mentor.
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Submitted on : Thursday, November 5, 2020 - 3:51:08 PM
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Francis Martin, Ian Dickie, Björn Lindahl, Sarah Lennon, Maarja Öpik, et al.. A tribute to Sally E. Smith. New Phytologist, Wiley, 2020, 228 (2), pp.397-402. ⟨10.1111/nph.16895⟩. ⟨hal-02990560⟩

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