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Abstract Detail

Historical Section

Diazgranados, Mauricio [1], Chaves, Diana L. [2], Funk, Vicki A. [3].

Unraveling the Science of Discovery: Dr. José Cuatrecasas’ 1932 expedition to South America.

Don José Cuatrecasas Arumí (1903-1996), renowned Spanish botanist, collected thousand of plants (ca. 25,000) and anthropological specimens in Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador between 1932 and 1979. He also compiled an astounding photographic archive with more than 20,000 images, accompanied by detailed descriptions of the vegetation and the native people. He published approximately 262 papers, he is author (or co-author) of two subtribes, 41 genera and about 3,308 new species, subspecies or varieties of plants. In addition, he participated in the founding of the Organization for Flora Neotropica and worked actively for well recognized institutions like the Jardín Botánico de Madrid (1933-1939), the Field Museum of Chicago (1947-1955) and the US National Herbarium (1955-1996). In his 25 journals and 12 notebooks, he described day-a-day his expeditions to South America with lots of details: the preparations of each field trip, his careful annotations of useful data, his ecological notes, his amazing adventures, his camping techniques, and even how he took each photograph. Unfortunately his work is largely inaccessible because the most of them is hand written in an old-fashioned version of Spanish. As a pilot project at the Smithsonian Institution, we compiled his biography to produce a geo-biography in Google-Earth, we provided useful information to publish a website honoring him, and translated into English Don José’s 1932 journal with his first travel to South America. Invited by the government of Colombia to celebrate the bicentennial birth of Mutis, Cuatrecasas made a trip of six months to this country, where he experienced for the first time the neotropical ecosystems, e.g. the lowland forest, the cloudy forest and the páramo. In those he collected hundreds of specimens and took 325 photographs. His 1932 journal portrays every visited place during this trip with insightful descriptions of the flora and local inhabitants.

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1 - Saint Louis University, Department of Biology, 3507 Laclede Ave., Macelwane Lab 231, St. Louis, Missouri, 63103-2010, United States of America
2 - 1957 Alfred Ave Unit 2N, St. Louis, Missouri, 63110, United States of America
3 - National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Department of Botany, MRC-166, P.O. Box 37012, Washington, DC, 20013-7012, USA

José Cuatrecasas Arumí
1932 journal
neotropical flora

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Ball Room & Party Room/SUB
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2008
Time: 12:30 PM
Number: PHS001
Abstract ID:416

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