Tropical and Subtropical Lichens: Diversity and Floristics
Bungartz, Frank .
Lichens on the Galapagos - an overview on occasion of Darwin’s 200th birthday.
The way we perceive biodiversity can be bizarre. What captures our attention is typically unexpected or spectacular. Darwin’s visit to the Galapagos lasted little more than a week, yet the islands captured his imagination and stimulated years of thought towards his Theory of Evolution. When Darwin visited Galapagos he was as a young man, a geologist with a knowledge about fossils, but also a dedicated scholar of the teachings of the Church of England, a passionate breeder of pigeons, and a naturalist with a fascination for moths and butterflies. His notebooks from the journey with the Beagle capture fascinating anecdotes. Yet, in all his observations, lichens only feature once:
“The Tortoises which live on those Islands ...I have seen ... in the higher parts, eating largely of a pale green filamentous Lichen, which hangs like tresses from the boughs of the trees...”
Darwin was obviously no lichenologist. Fascinated by the process of life and how it changes, he collected many specimens to document Galapagos biodiversity. Nevertheless, many groups of organisms went unnoticed. 200 years later, on Charles Darwin’s birthday and 150 years after the Origin of Species, a large part of Galapagos’ biodiversity still remains unknown. For the first time in its history, the Charles Darwin Foundation now maintains an Online Checklist of Known Galapagos Species. This is our first attempt to document all biodiversity known from the archipelago. In an effort to fill our knowledge gaps, even poorly known groups are included; an example is the survey of lichens: this list includes large groups like the Graphidaceae (forty-two species, few endemics) and small ones like the genus Roccella (five species, all but one endemic). Although our list has considerably grown from 229 known species in 1998 to almost 600 species now recorded, many taxa still need further studies.
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1 - Charles Darwin Foundation, Biodiversity, Baseline Studies and Natural History Collections, Casilla 17-01-3891, Quito, Ecuador
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Ballroom 2/Cliff Lodge - Level B
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Time: 1:30 PM