Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Raunkiær, Christen Christiansen (Denmark 1860-1938)
plant ecology


Raunkiaer, who worked with and for the great plant ecologist Eugenius Warming for many years in Copenhagen (eventually replacing him), is known as the creator of the most successful plant life-forms classification system. A man who was highly statistically inclined, Raunkiaer began to develop his system in the early 1890s while he was immersed in studies on the Danish flora. In his systemization plants are grouped according to the physical position and degree of protection of their perennating buds (meristems); on the basis of such measurements on a thousand species worldwide Raunkiaer was able to argue that four basic "phytoclimates" existed: the hot, humid tropics, arid regions, high latitude and altitude areas, and the moderately humid temperate zones. Raunkiaer published a good deal of work on the Danish flora, and on the floras of places he had visited outside Denmark.

Life Chronology

--born in Raunkiaer (a large farm), West Jutland, Denmark, on 29 March 1860.
--1885: takes a degree in botany from the University of Copenhagen
--1885-1888: teaches at Borchs Botanical College; travels in Denmark and the Netherlands
--1893-1911: scientific assistant at the botanical gardens and museum at the University of Copenhagen
--1905: first proposes his life-forms classification system
--1905-1906: visits the Virgin Islands and Santo Domingo
--1909-1910: visits Italy, North Africa, Spain and France
--1911-1923: professor of botany and director of the botanical gardens at the University of Copenhagen
--1934: publishes his The Life Forms of Plants and Statistical Plant Geography
--dies on 11 March 1938.

For Additional Information, See:

--McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology, 9th Ed., Vol. 13 (2002): 750-751.
--Taxonomic Literature, Vol. 4 (1983).
--Proceedings of the Linnean Society, Vol. 151 (1941): 248-251.
--Journal of Vegetation Science, Vol. 1(1) (1990): 41-48.
--Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, Vol. 108(4) (1981): 472-478.
--Botanical Review, Vol. 16(1) (1950): 1-32.

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

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