The most comprehensive published collection of moss flora of a sub-Antarctic island will be launched today in Hobart.

In the spirit of Australian explorer and botanist Sir Joseph Banks, Dr Rod Seppelt’s The Moss Flora of Macquarie Island brings together the most extensive evaluation of these flora.

Dr Seppelt is a Principal Research Scientist with the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) and curator of the AAD Herbarium which contains more than 30,000 specimens from the Antarctic continent, sub-Antarctic islands and elsewhere.

A researcher of more than 36 visits to Antarctica and the subantarctic Rod Seppelt is recognised as Australia’s leading Antarctic bryologist and his book provides an up-to-date summary of almost 30 years’ taxonomic research.

His position has afforded him the opportunity to study the moss floras of many of the most remote and interesting places on earth, sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island becoming one of his favourites after his first visit in 1975.

This first sojourn was followed by many more in pursuit of a better understanding of the island’s biodiversity. The Moss Flora of Macquarie Island, painstakingly constructed over many years, is the culmination of his work.

Dr Seppelt is also one of Australia’s most accomplished botanical illustrators, combining astonishingly accurate taxonomic detail with a crisp and elegant aesthetic.

The Moss Flora of Macquarie Island comprehensively outlines the known flora of this extraordinary location though a combination of Rod’s beautiful illustrations and the most up to date taxonomic information available.

It has a widespread application, with many of the species also existing throughout the southern hemisphere, making it a valuable reference for Tasmania and New Zealand. It is a “must have”, not only for the botanically inclined, but also anyone with an appreciation for fine botanical illustration.

An exhibition of Rod Seppelt’s botanical drawings is being held in conjunction with the book launch.

The Moss Flora of Macquarie Island will be launched by Dr Gintaras Kantvilas, head of the Tasmanian Herbarium.