Royal Society's Antarctic Research Committee
After the establishment of the Ross Dependency Research Committee (with representatives of the Royal Society of New Zealand and University) to advise the Government on scientific work in Ross Dependency, the functions of the Antarctic Research Committee became restricted to scientific matters concerning the Trans-Antarctic Expedition (N. Z.) Inc.
On May 25, 1958, the Ross Sea Committee accepted the offer of the Royal Society of New Zealand to deal with the expedition's scientific collections and publication of reports.
In November, the chairman met the Scientific Subcommittee of the Ross Sea Committee, to discuss the publication of results. It was decided that A.R.C. should implement its earlier recommendations made in October, 1956, and endorsed by T.A.E. (N.Z.), with due regard for the plans of T.A.E. (U.K.) to publish a series of scientific reports of the expedition.
The collections made by scientists attached to T.A.E. (N.Z.) Inc. have been deposited in terms of A.R.C.'s earlier recommendations in the Dominion Museum (biological collections) and the N.Z. Geological Survey (geological collections) and the directors of these two institutions have been authorized to sort and catalogue them prior to distribution to specialists approved by A.R.C. under conditions that will ensure the return of types and reference collections to New Zealand.
Biology. Dr. R. W. Balham, T.A.E. biologist, has completed a list of biological material and station list detailing the scope of the 747 items included in the biological collection, with a classified systematic cross-index. One hundred marine stations and 22 non-marine stations were occupied. This is a tribute to the biological work of T.A.E., and A.R.C. has recommended that it should be published as a source of data fundamental to all who will subsequently work on the collections.
The following allocations of collections have been approved: Lichens (Dr. J. Murray to distribute); blood smears (Professor Marshall Laird); Diatoms (Mrs. V. Cassie); Decapod Crustacea (J. C. Yaldwyn); Mollusca (Dr. R. K. Dell); Amphipoda and Isopoda (Dr. D. Hurley); Hirudinea) Professor L. R. Richardson); Echinoidea (Professor H. B. Fell). The Committee proposes to offer other groups of organisms to specialists, including those on the panel drawn up in 1957.
Geology. The Director, N.Z. Geological Survey, reports that the important collections of fossil plants from the Beacon Sandstone have been sent to Mrs. E. P. Plumstead, University of Witwatersrand, who has already furnished a preliminary report, and the fish remains and conchostracans to Drs. Errol White and Bull, British Museum, London. Many rock specimens have been sectioned and are being described by the expedition's geologists, Messrs. B. Gunn and G. Warren.
Specialist Reports. There has been a continuing steady demand for the cyclostyled “specialist reports” on Antarctic biology and geology issued by A.R.C. in 1957, and full sets can no longer be supplied.
Recommendations. (1) As the functions of A.R.C. are likely to be limited to the arrangement for the distribution of collections and for publication of reports on them, the Committee recommends to the Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand that its membership should be reduced to the two persons who will largely be responsible for making such arrangements in terms of the policy set out by A.R.C.—i.e., the directors of the Dominion Museum and of the N.Z. Geological Survey.
(2) The Committee feels that the individual specialist reports should be published in view of the continuing demand.
(3) Judged by the experience of this committee and other current and past Royal Society activities, there is room for a Committee of the Royal Society of New Zealand to act as a focus for the encouragement of expeditions both within and outside New Zealand. We therefore recommend that Council set up a “Royal Society of New Zealand Expedition Committee”.
(4) Equipment. The committee recommends that Trans-Antarctic Expedition (N.Z.) Inc. should be asked to transfer the ownership of scientific equipment, literature and photographs (of scientific interest) acquired by T.A.E. (N.Z.) to the Ross Dependency Research Committee in order that it may continue to function in Antarctic Research by New Zealanders.
For the Committee,
C. A. Fleming,Chairman.