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Abstract Detail

Historical Section

Diazgranados, Mauricio [1], Funk, Vicki A. [2], Cadena, Camilo [3].

Unveiling Dr. José Cuatrecasas’ second expedition to South America (1938-1939).

One of the greatest botanists of the Neotropics, Don José Cuatrecasas Arumí (1903-1996), conducted several botanical expeditions to South America between 1932 and 1981. In his 25 journals he described in detail his travel experiences. Unfortunately his work is largely inaccessible because the most of it is hand written in an old-fashioned version of Spanish. Based on his second journal (two volumes and 747 pages), we are reconstructing the expedition conducted during 1938-1939. This was a seven-month scientific expedition to numerous Andean páramos and forests of Colombia (in the states of Arauca, Cundinamarca, Boyacá and Meta), and to the Llanos of the Orinoco basin (in the states of Meta, Casanare, Arauca and Vichada in Colombia; and Apure in Venezuela). During these trips Cuatrecasas collected 2799 specimens and took 865 photographs of plants, animals, indigenous tribes and places. It was the beginning of the Second World War and of the Franco's régime in Spain, Cuatrecasas’ mother country. When he left Spain he did not know that it would be 40 years before he returned. Thus, this expedition determined his future career and greatly impacted his life. To make accessible to the scientific community and the public all of the information and knowledge that he gathered during this expedition, we transcribed and translated the journals. The collection localities were also geo-referenced and mapped in ArcGIS Map and Google Earth. We are studying the botanical collections during this trip and correlating the journal information with specimens and photographs. The results will be available through a website hosted by the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution. This will include a special section for educational purposes of US and Colombian K-12 students.

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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 - National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Department of Botany, MRC-166, P.O. Box 37012, Washington, DC, 20013-7012, USA
3 - Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Departamento de Biología, Carrera 30 No 45 – 03, Edificio 421, Bogotá, D.C., Colombia

José Cuatrecasas Arumí
South America
Andean Forest
Google Earth.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for BSA Sections
Session: 6
Location: Alpine A/Snowbird Center
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2009
Time: 8:30 AM
Number: 6003
Abstract ID:689