Thanks to our Ecology & Evolution Community, I have been reading and learning a lot about Alexander von Humboldt recently. I am astonished by his life and legacy. Explorer, geographer, author, scholar, scientist and mentor – he significantly influenced the scientific movement of the nineteenth century. Numerous species, places and buildings are named in honor of Humboldt. He was awarded the Copley medal and held membership for several learned societies. He also reached 89 years of age. What a life.
To mark Humboldt’s 250th birthday we set-up a special channel on the Ecology & Evolution Community to share research highlights, behind the paper posts and personal perspectives from our contributors and editors; some highlights below.
If Alexander von Humboldt was alive today, what would you ask him? Indre Zliobaite imagines how a conversation would go when they met in 2016.
In 1802 Humboldt spent four days on the slopes of the Andean volcano: Antisana. In 2017 a team of Ecuadorian and French botanists and ecologists followed the same route. Pierre Moret recounts both expeditions.
Between 1799 and 1804 Humboldt travelled extensively in Latin America, exploring, observing and documenting what he saw in a travel diary which amounted to 4000 pages by the end of the trip. Thomas Smith considers how far we’ve come in terms of documenting biodiversity since this extraordinary expedition, and Nicola Clerici examines the threats facing biodiversity in a post-conflict Colombia.
Zhong-Jian Liu describes how Humboldt’s principles have inspired his own research on orchids, and Kris Wyckhuys argues that Humboldtian perspectives are needed to effectivity peruse agricultural, environmental and ecology change for a sustainable future.
Happy Birthday Humboldt! And thank you to all that contributed to our Humboldt Anniversary channel.
Poster image: Humboldt's Chimborazo Map