Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Martius, Karl Friedrich Philipp von (Germany 1794-1868)

Martius was fortunate enough as a young man to be sent by the king of Bavaria on a major expedition to Brazil to collect plant specimens (he also served as the expedition's physician). While there he additionally gave attention to the region's physical geography and ethnology. When he returned after three years with thousands of specimens he was rewarded with honors and positions, and settled down to a life of science and science administration and publishing. Martius put almost all of his attention on Brazil-related subjects; he published a well-received semi-popular account of his explorations and ethnological studies as well as many technical treatments of its vegetation (culminating in his most important work, the many-volumed Flora Brasiliensis, completed after he died). During his time Martius was recognized as the foremost specialist on palms; he is also credited as having been the first to describe the natural spiral growth pattern of many plants.

Life Chronology

--born in Erlangen, Germany, on 17 April 1794.
--1814: M.D., University of Erlangen
--1814: made an assistant to the conservator of the Botanic Garden, Munich
--1816: admitted to the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina
--1817-1820: natural history expedition to Brazil with zoologist Johann Baptist von Spix
--1820: returns to Munich; made a member of the Royal Bavarian Academy and second conservator of the Botanic Garden
--1823-1831: publishes his Reise in Brasilien in three volumes, with Spix
--1823-1850: publishes his Historia naturalis palmarum in three volumes
--1824-1831: publishes his Nova genera et species plantarum Brasiliensium
--1826: named professor of botany at the University of Munich
--1828-1834: publishes his Icones plantarum cryptogamicarum...
--1829: publishes the first in the series Flora Brasiliensis
--1832: made principal conservator of the Botanic Garden, Munich
--1838: made a Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London
--1840: made secretary of the mathematical and physical section of the Royal Bavarian Academy
--1842: publishes an analysis of the potato plague
--dies at Munich, Germany, on 13 December 1868.

For Additional Information, See:

--Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 18 (1869-1870): vi-xi.
--Kew Bulletin, Vol. 37(1) (1982): 91-116.
--Taxon, Vol. 32(1) (1983): 88-91.
--Taxonomic Literature, Vol. 3 (1981).
--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 9 (1974).

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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