BOTANICAL GUIDEBOOKS - No 25 (2001)
E. ZASTAWNIAK, P. KÖHLER
(publikacja w jęz. polskim, 159 str.)
Instytut Botaniki im. W. Szafera PAN, Kraków
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This paper outlines on the history of Tertiary palaeobotany in Europe, and provides details of Polish palaeobotanical studies on the remains of fossil plants in Tertiary of Poland from the earliest times to the present day.
The development of Polish palaeobotany observed at the end of the 19th century followed the establishment (in 1865) of a Physiographical Committee within the Cracow Academic Society (from 1873 - the Academy of Science and Letters), which supported palaeobotanical studies and the collection of fossils.
A paper by Marian Łomnicki (1886) was the first Polish publication that contained a description of the remains of Tertiary plants: two species of Chara from the Miocene of Podolia. The first paper on remnants of vascular plants was that of Wiktor Kuźniar (1910) which referred to the Eocene in the Tatra Mts.
The outbreak of the second world war and Nazi occupation prevented almost all Polish scientists from continuing their research. During the war many scientists lost their work, including palaeobotanists such as Hanna Czeczott whose manuscripts were destroyed by fire in Warsaw, Mikołaj Kostyniuk, Stefan Kownas and Jan Zabłocki. By good fortune Władysław Szafer escaped being arrested in the Jagiellonian University Aula hall by the Gestapo on 6th November 1939 during "Sonderaktion Krakau", and did not share the fate of those university professors who were taken to concentration camps. Despite all the difficulties of the occupation he continued his palaeobotanical studies on the fossil flora of Krościenko (Szafer 1946-1947).
After the end of the war (1945) scientific institutions reopened. The Botanical Institute of the Jagiellonian University in Cracow had survived without loss or damage mainly due to good łuck and the efforts of Władysław Szafer. In almost completely destroyed Warsaw, the Museum of the Earth (Muzeum Ziemi) was established, and Hanna Czeczott organized within it a palaeobotanical department for Tertiary flora studies. At that time two specializations dominated palaeobotany - the study of macroscopic remains and palynology.
At Warsaw in 1947 a palaeobotanical department was established within the State Geological Institute (Państwowy Instytut Geologiczny) with Jadwiga Raniecka-Bobrowska as its head in which palaeobotanical studies in both Tertiary and Quaternary were carried out. Shortly after, a Department of Palynology was set up at the Institute by Julia Doktorowicz-Hrebnicka.
A Palaeobotanical Department was created at Wrocław University by Mikołaj Kostyniuk before his move to Warsaw in 1954 where he became head of the Palaeobotanical Department of the university there. Jan Zabłocki started work at the newly established Nicholas Copernicus University in Toruń, and Stefan Kownas organized the Botany Department at the High School of Agriculture in Szczecin.
The output of Polish Tertiary palaeobotany during the period 1945 to 1970 has been set out by M. Kostyniuk (Paleobotany in Poland in 1945-1970, Kostyniuk 1973). During that time knowledge of the Tertiary flora, especially that of the Polish Neogene, increased considerably and monographs on macroscopic floras as well as palynology were published.
The intensive studies by pollen analysis of the last 30 years have made possible the preparation of synthetic palynological-stratigraphical papers on the Tertiary of particular regions of Poland. Synthesis of the palynological studies of the entire Polish Lowland from palaeofloristic and palaeogeographical points of view has been completed (ed. Ważyńska 1998). At the end of the 1970s, on the initiative of Eva Planderovfi, Slovakian palaeobotanist, an international co-operation in correlating the results of palynological studies of the Tertiary of Central Europe was begun. In 1994, the assembly of a palynological database was begun which included studied localities in Poland. Also, work started on a taxonomic revision of Polish Neogene sporomorphs (Stuchlik et al. 2001).
In the 1970s, intensive development of studies on fruit, seed and leaf floras of the Neogene took place. The studies were principally conducted in two institutions: the Mu-seum of the Earth of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, and the Institute of Botany of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Cracow. Numerous papers resulted mainly of a floristics-stratigraphic character although two of them were review articles (Łańcucka-Środoniowa et al. 1981, Zastawniak et al. 1996). In the 1980s, from materiał collected by Polish geologists in the Western Antarctic, studies were started on macroscopic remains, chiefly leaf imprints in the Cretaceous and Palaeogene rocks of King George and Seymour Islands.
During the last 30 years intensive research has been directed at those taxonomic groups of fossil plants which had previously been totally neglected or barely studied at all, primarily macro- and microfossils of fossilized algae.
The major part of the paper consists of biographies of 62 Polish botanists and geologists who made significant contributions to the literaturę and lists the papers relating to the Tertiary published by them.
A separate chapter lists the authors of occasional papers dealing with Tertiary palaeobotany and provides bibliographical details. Included are the names of persons who withheld permission for their biographies to be published.
The set of publications cited is exhaustive and provides complete representation of Polish Tertiary palaeobotanical studies up to 2001.
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