The International Compositae Alliance (TICA) was created by Vicki Funk back in 2000 as a way to generate a network among researchers working directly in the family, but also and very importantly to help further research on systematics of tribes and subfamilies. TICA held its first conference with presented papers in Albuquerque NM(USA) in 2001 and a second conference in Pretoria (South Africa) in 2003. It also hosted symposia on the family during the International Botanical Congress in Vienna (Austria) in 2005. This sustained interest led eventually to an international Conference on Systematics & Evolution of the Compositae: A Symposium in Barcelona (Spain) in 2006. The Barcelona meeting was an important step that led to final appearance of Funk et. al. 2009 volume. This was followed by a meeting in Montreal (Canada) in 2012, another in Bahia (Brazil) in 2014 and a more recent one in Quito (Ecuador) in 2018.
Vicki Ann Funk was an American botanist and one of the leading figures on the taxonomy and biogeography of the Compositae in the late XX and early XXI century. In a long and distinguished career, Vicki published over 300 peer-reviewed publications and edited or authored nine books, the last of which is the massive 2009 volume “Systematics, evolution and biogeography of the Compositae.” Even when Vicki’s academic universe was centered in the Compositae, she played not a small role in the use of phylogenetic systematics in plants and Biogeography and led for over 30 years the Biological Diversity of the Guiana Shield Program.
Vicki championed the importance of herbarium collections and spared no effort to carry the message throughout a wide spectrum of actors across the world. But perhaps one of her most defining features was her cheerful and optimistic attitude towards problems, always applying a no-nonsense “funkian” logic in order to solve them. She was always eager to promote collaboration and was constantly riding the wave of progress and new methods. She was a beacon of change, and was always promoting the involvement of young people in the myriad of projects she led or was involved in.
All of those fortunate enough to have worked with Vicki felt her contagious positive and enthusiastic attitude towards life. Vicki’s spirit lives on in TICA and continues fueling younger generations of synantherologists through projects like GCD.