Botanical Research Essential to a Knowledge of Antarctica

  1. A.P. Crary,
  2. L.M. Gould,
  3. E.O. Hulburt,
  4. Hugh Odishaw and
  5. Waldo E. Smith
  1. George A. Llano

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM001p0124

Antarctica in the International Geophysical Year: Based on a Symposium on the Antarctic

Antarctica in the International Geophysical Year: Based on a Symposium on the Antarctic

How to Cite

Llano, G. A. (1956) Botanical Research Essential to a Knowledge of Antarctica, in Antarctica in the International Geophysical Year: Based on a Symposium on the Antarctic (eds A.P. Crary, L.M. Gould, E.O. Hulburt, H. Odishaw and W. E. Smith), American Geophysical Union, Washington D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM001p0124

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1956

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900018

Online ISBN: 9781118669204

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Keywords:

  • Algae, mosses, and lichens;
  • Antarctic fioristic regions;
  • Antarctic lichen flora;
  • Green oases;
  • Origin, age, and dispersal;
  • Rockefeller Mountains;
  • South polar region;
  • Species distribution

Summary

Our information about the flora of Antarctica is derived largely from piecemeal collections made by members of about 20 expeditions. Their botanical work was usually limited in space and time to local areas, and represented a small fraction of their interest and effort. Above all, collections were made by scientists ill-acquainted with the type of vegetation indigenous to the Antarctic. The flora of Antarctica is preponderantly cryptogamous, and these plants besides being inconspicuous are an unfamiliar and difficult subject for most botanists. Coordinated and planned research by a trained cryptogamist is not only likely to extend the existing list of 60 mosses and some 300 lichens but is also likely to make significant strides in ecology and in intrapolar and intercontinental distributional patterns. Knowledge is also needed about the relationship of the present vegetation to ice and snow terrain and ice fluctuations. In conclusion, this research may permit ventures into the more fundamental and enigmatic problems of origin, age, and dispersal. In botany there is no substitute for the study of a natural, living population.