John S. Pate

John S Pate

Professor John Pate has greatly influenced plant science, particularly plant ecology and physiology, in Western Australia. His academic career commenced as Assistant Lecturer at Queens University in 1954 followed by increasing senior academic appointments at the University of Sydney, Queens University and The University of Western Australia (UWA). He was head of the botany department at UWA from 1974 to 1986.

The major focus of his work concerned the carbon and nitrogen economies of plants, especially legumes, and contributed to applied research on productivity of pastures and crops. Along the way, techniques were developed for quantifying nitrogen inputs of legumes and thereby permitting assessment of their contributions in agricultural and natural ecosystems.

Professor Pate has contributed significantly to ecological and physiological studies of native flora of Western Australia, particularly on the structural and functional adaptations displayed for combating various forms of environmental stress. Professor Pate has published extensively with over 500 publications including books, monographs, reviews and refereed research articles.

Professor Pate’s scientific career was honoured by election to the Australian Academy of Sciences in 1980 and to the Royal Society, London in 1985. John will be remembered by his many students as a hard taskmaster, relentless in pursuit of excellence and with an Irish sense of humour and fun which lightened many a load.

John Pate was inducted into the Western Australian Science Hall of fame in 2017 for his excellence and his sustained scientific achievement in this State.