Lachlan Copeland

Location: Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia

I always have had a love of nature, both plants and animals, so I decided to study biology and have been lucky enough to work with both flora and fauna. Having a species named after you is very flattering, and I see it as a reward for lots of hard work and voluntary work on the taxonomy of Australian plants. It also is in my favorite genus of plants, which makes it even more special.

Lachlan Copeland, a senior botanist with Eco Logical Australia, A Tetra Tech Company, is based in northern New South Wales (NSW), Australia. His work with plants is varied, but his main interest is in plant taxonomy—the process of classifying, describing, and naming species.

Lachlan holds a doctorate in plant taxonomy from the University of New England and has worked for government organizations, universities, and companies studying the flora of eastern Australia. He has published more than 40 scientific papers on a range of topics, mostly focusing on plant taxonomy, ecology, and conservation.

While conducting a targeted survey of a threatened orchid (Diuris eborensis) as part of the Saving our Species (SoS) program funded by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Lachlan discovered a new species. The SoS program protects threatened plant life from threats such as excessive grazing, and controls feral animals and environmental weeds. It also provides baseline surveys to gather scientific data and better understand lesser known species.

Lachlan discusses his discovery of a completely new species of orchid, Prasophyllum copelandii, which has since been named after him in this article.

In 2018 Lachlan discovered another species of orchid. While walking through his property in Coffs Harbour, Lachlan’s eye was caught by a small ground orchid flowering. While he quickly identified the genius—Danhatchia—he knew this one was different, and after doing some research was able to confirm it as a new species. Learn more about Lachlan’s recent discovery.

In the video below, Lachlan discusses the discovery and naming of new species.

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