Joan Dingley

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Joan Marjorie Dingley OBE (14 May 1916 – 1 January 2008)[1] was one of the pioneer women of New Zealand science. She worked for the DSIR Plant Diseases Division from 1941 to 1976, becoming the head of mycology. She was a major research scientist in New Zealand for both laboratory and field-based plant pathology, and for taxonomic mycology.

Her research interests lay with the taxonomy of ascomycetes, especially the Hypocreales. She rapidly became a world authority on these fungi. About 30 species of fungi have dingleyae as their species name, and the genus Dingleya was also named after her.[2]

She wrote a major, comprehensive list of New Zealand plant diseases, published in 1969.

Dingley developed the New Zealand Fungal Herbarium, building specimen numbers from 4,000 to 35,000 by the time she retired.[3]

Dingley also had a love for horticulture and gardening. She was a prime mover in the establishment of the Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens, and became an honorary life member of the ‘Friends’ of the gardens.

Dingley was awarded an honorary DSc by Massey University in 1994.[4][5] She was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1995 Queen's Birthday Honours, for services to botany.[6] In 2004, Landcare Research named one of its Auckland laboratories the JM Dingley Microbiology Laboratory in her honour. She attended the naming ceremony.

In 2017, Dingley was selected as one of the Royal Society Te Apārangi's "150 women in 150 words", celebrating the contributions of women to knowledge in New Zealand.[3]


  • Landcare Research newsletter Tamaki News, #50, January 11, 2008, unpublished.
  1. ^ Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture awards
  2. ^ Trappe JM. (1979). "The orders, families, and genera of hypogeous Ascomycotina (truffles and their relatives)". Mycotaxon. 9 (1): 297–340.
  3. ^ a b "Joan Dingley". Royal Society Te Apārangi. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  4. ^ Past Officers and Members of the Council and Honorary Graduates - Massey University Archived 2015-05-25 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  5. ^ "Miss Joan Dingley, DSc (honoris causa)" (PDF). 1994. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  6. ^ "No. 54067". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). 17 June 1995. p. 34.
  7. ^ IPNI.  Dingley.

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