Dr Joan Dingley (14 May 1916 – 1 January 2008) was one of the pioneer women of New Zealand science. She worked for the DSIR Plant Diseases Division from 1941 to 1976, becoming the head of mycology. She was a major research scientist in NZ for both laboratory and field-based plant pathology, and for taxonomic mycology.
Her research interests lay with the taxonomy of ascomycetes, especially the Hypocreales. She rapidly became a world authority on these fungi. About 30 species of fungi have dingleyae as their species name, and the genus Dingleya was also named after her.
She wrote a major, comprehensive list of New Zealand plant diseases, published in 1969.
Joan Dingley developed the New Zealand Fungal Herbarium, building specimen numbers from 4,000 to 35,000 by the time she retired.
Dingley also had a love for horticulture and gardening. She was a prime mover in the establishment of the Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens, and became an honorary life member of the ‘Friends’ of the gardens.
In 2004, Landcare Research named one of its Auckland laboratories the JM Dingley Microbiology Laboratory in her honour. She attended the naming ceremony.