Article ID: CBB001202219

Juan Cristóbal Gundlach's Contributions to the Knowledge of Puerto Rican Birds and His Influence on the Development of Natural History in Puerto Rico (2014)


The German naturalist, Juan Cristóbal Gundlach (1810--1896), resided in Cuba for the last 57 years of his life, except for two expeditions to Puerto Rico in 1873 and 1875--1876, when he explored the southwestern, western, and northeastern regions. Gundlach made representative collections of the island's fauna, which formed the nucleus of the first natural history museum in Puerto Rico. He substantially increased the number of species known from the island, and was the first naturalist to make meticulous observations and produce detailed reports of the island's natural history. Gundlach greatly influenced other naturalists in the island, so that a period of concerted advancement in knowledge of natural history occurred in the 1870s. That development coincided with the establishment of the first higher education institutions in the island, including the first natural history museum. The natural history museums eventually closed, and only a few of their specimens were passed to other institutions, including foreign museums. None of Gundlach's and few of his contemporaries' specimens have survived in Puerto Rico.

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Authors & Contributors
Matthew Fishburn
Mustafa Haikal
Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Barbara Coffin
Robert Rutkowski
Lansing Shepard
Archives of Natural History
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Journal of the History of Biology
University of New Mexico Press
University of Minnesota Press
University of California Press
Tectum Verlag
Reaktion Books
Pennsylvania State University Press
Natural history
Biological specimens
Collectors and collecting
Specimen exchange
Scientific illustration
Roe, John Septimus
Donovan, Edward
Martin, Philipp Leopold
Godlewski, Wiktor
Vane-Wright, Richard I.
Jones, William
Time Periods
19th century
18th century
20th century
21st century
20th century, early
17th century
Great Britain
Edinburgh (Scotland)
Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Wernerian Natural History Society
Bell Museum of Natural History
Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
East India Company (English)
University of Minnesota

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