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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/21924

Title: Study of the Polyporaceae ·s.l. of Papua· New Guinea : a preliminary polypore flora
Other Titles: Studie van de polyporaceae s.l. van Papua Nieuw-Guinea: een preliminaire polyporenflora
Authors: Quanten, Elly
Advisors: Van Der Veken, P.
VAN POUCKE, Marcel
Issue Date: 1993
Abstract: " A country which contains more strange and new and beautiful natural objects than any other part of the globe" was how the famous naturalist Sir Alfred Russell Wallace described New Guinea, the second largest island of the world, after visiting it in 1858. Moreover, with a total land area of six times the size of England and over 70 percent still clothed in dense tropical forests, New Guinea is the largest expanse of original, undisturbed tropical rain forest in East Asia, some 700,000 square kilometres in all. It is therefore not surprising that the Belgian King Leopold III-Fund has chosen one of the many paradisiacal, coralline islands (viz. Laing Island), which surround the mainland, to home a biological station. In 1986 a Belgian interuniversity F.K.F.0-project (Fund for Collective and Fundamental Research) was stated up with the study of 'Flora and Vegetation of Papua New Guinea' as its principal purpose. Even though during the first expeditions in 1980 (suppo1ted by the King Leopold III-Fund) and 1986 the attention was fixed on higher plants and algae, lignicolo us fungi (Polyporaceae s.l.) were collected at the inspiration of Prof. P. Van der Veken and were mostly sent to the Herbarium of Ghent, where the collections were accumulated. But not for long! As it was obvious to expect a rich, lignicolous fungus flora in this densely and diversely forestated area, the choice was easily made. The choice was also supported by the surprising fact that not a single polypore flora of this pa1t of the world was available, although "polypores have always been an attractive group of fungi as they generally are easy to collect and dry, and many species can be identified in the field with some experience" (Gilbertson & Ryvarden 1986:2). Indeed, these fungi have already been collected in Papua New Guinea since the beginning of last century (Persoon 1826, Berkeley 1842) and before World War I already 150 polypore taxa were known from this region (see historical sketch of the study of polypore fungi of Papua New Guinea). Often, the information was restricted to an enumeration of the species, without full description and without determination keys. Moreover, at that time New Guinea was politically divided in three parts (the northeastern and southeastern part, now known collectively as Papua New Guinea, were then under German and British rule respectively, while the western part, Irian Jaya, was under Dutch supervision) and information on plants and fungi was then often limited to one of these regions. Because in general polypores have always been intensively studied, both in temperate and tropical regions, numerous new species \Vere described. When fungi from different tropical regions were sent to Europe or North America they were often described as new, over and over again, mainly on the basis of macroscopical characters and depending on the region where they came from. This resulted in a labyrinth of names. For example: when the famous British mycologist Berkeley died in 1889 he had studied no fewer than 560 polypores. In his series of type studies and in 'The genera of Polypores' Ryvarden (1973- 1992) has tried to solve this problem. As new methods developed and new characters, like micromorphological ones (since Corner 1932), were taken into consideration, many taxonomic questions were settled and this led to a more uniform use of names. One of the main aims of this thesis is thus to give detailed descriptions of polypores so far registered from Papua New Guinea. (Excerpt from introduction)
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/21924
Category: T1
Type: Theses and Dissertations
Appears in Collections: PhD theses
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