Why it is worth while to adhere to OPTIMA

OPTIMA (the Organisation for the Phyto-Taxonomic Investigation of the Mediterranean Area), founded in 1974, is an international scientific association of personal and institutional members. It is devoted to the study of plants and plant life of the Mediterranean area, in all their aspects. All groups traditionally assigned to botany are covered (including fungi an protists), as well as all disciplines devoted to the comparative study of these organisms.
Several of Commissions and Committees are appointed and monitored by OPTIMA, to work on special tasks and projects.
Ordinary Members draw substantial benefits from their adherence to OPTIMA and by participating in the Organisation’s activities. These include:

  1. Ordinary Members pay a reduced fee when participating in OPTIMA Meetings. These congresses take place every three years and are ideally suited to present and be informed of new scientific results. For each Meeting a Scientific Programme Committee is appointed by OPTIMA.
  2. Ordinary and Institutional Members receive current issues of OPTIMA’s flagship journal, Flora Mediterrana, for free (earlier volumes can be purchased at a discount). The journal is produced on behalf of OPTIMA by the Fondazione Pro Herbario Mediterraneo in Palermo, which also publishes the serial Bocconea. Special member discount also applies to the latter, of which current volumes are sent to Institutional Members for free. For the benefit of those members who are nit interested in receiving a printed copy of the journal, a new, extremely economic Online-only membership category has been created.
  3. The OPTIMA Newsletter (see box on the left) is the main vector of new information among Mediterranean botanists. Relevant items are posted in the News section of the OPTIMA Website if and when they become available. Once every year the News is consolidated into a Newsletter issue, in form of a pdf file, and mailed electronically to all Members of which the Secretariat knows a valid e-mail address. Hard copy continues to be produced in limited numbers, to be mailed to the Institutional Members and kept as permanent record in their libraries. Personal Members who wish to receive the OPTIMA Newsletter on paper can purchase it at cost (5 € apiece, including postage) as long as the stock lasts.
  4. Together with the Newsletter proper, its standing column Publications Notices is produced. The column editor welcomes relevant items, preferably to be sent directly to the OPTIMA secretariat in Palermo. Sending or having sent copies for review will not only bring your publications to the attention of a large interested audience, it will also ensure that they are present in the OPTIMA Library at the Herbarium Mediterraneum in Palermo, intended to become the central botanical library for the Mediterranean area.
  5. Collecting expeditions, known as Itinera Mediterranea, are organised by OPTIMA for its members, through its Itinera Mediterranea Commission. They focus on little known, under-collected areas and also have the declared additional goal of letting junior participants benefit of the knowledge of experienced botanists.
  6. OPTIMA has undertaken the publication of a critical synonymic inventory of the Mediterranean vascular flora, Med-Checklist. Volumes 1 to 4 have so far been published, in co-operation with the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Museum and the Conservatoire botanique de la Ville de Genève. Extant volumes are made available at a special rates to OPTIMA Members. The information included in volumes 1, 3 and 4 is also available interactively as Med-Checklist online, on the server of the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Museum. For volume 2(Compositae),  the relevant information is included, updated when appropriate, in Euro+Med Plantbase.
  7. OPTIMA offers an award, in the form of a Silver Medal, to the author(s) or editor(s) of the best work in the field of Mediterranean plant taxonomy published in any single year. Even more prestigious, the OPTIMA Gold Medal is awarded triennially in recognition of a botanist’s outstanding contribution to the phytotaxonomy of the Mediterranean area. Members are encouraged to submit nominations to the Prize commission of OPTIMA
Thanks to a co-operation with the Foundation Herbarium Greuter there is an option, for Members who so wish, to pay their dues in the form of Mediterranean herbarium specimens. This procedure has the added advantage of making these materials generally known and accessible for study in the OPTIMA Herbarium, intended to become the Mediterranean region’s central herbarium.