Talk:Alexander Zahlbruckner

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In 1883 Zahlbruckner received his Ph.D from the University in Vienna, and at that time became a volunteer in the Department of Botany of the Museum of Natural History. He became a scientific assistant at the Museum in 1886, and remained at the Musuem until 1922.


His first article in 1886, from a series of contributions to the lichen flora of Lower Austria contained only determinations of collections from other botanists. Further publications in this series showed that he developed not only as a collector, but as a taxonomist as well. His publication in 1898 contained descriptions of seventy new species of lichens from a varied range of families.


Zahlbruckner began systematic studies of the lichen families and genera in the museum's herbariuim. This research on lichen families and genera eventually led to a new classification system of lichens and was based upon the groundwork of Reinke and Vainio.


"Like Vainio he also presumed lichen phylogeny to have taken place in several isolated groups, which were as follows--the group of pyrenocarpous species; the order represented by the families Lecideaceae--Cladoniaceae--Phyllopsoraceae--Lecanoraceae--Usneaceae; a group of cyanophylic lichens; a series of families with placodiomorphic spores: Caloplacaceae--Teloschistaceae--Buelliaceae--Physiaceae; and at the last families Lecanactidaceae--Gyalectaceae--Thelotremataceae." (Pišút 2002)


The Zahlbruckner system was published in a widely known compendium. It contained detailed descriptions of orders, suborders, families, sections, and genera.


In 1916, at the age of 56, Zahlbruckner began to catalogue a list of all the known lichens. The manuscript was finished in 1918 and three years later was part of the first volume published. He published nine volumes and the tenth was published in 1940 after his death.


Alexander Zahlbruckner was the first author to provide a comprehensive account of the lichenized families and genera. And he was the first to compile all known lichen taxa, with details of synonymy.

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