Abstract Detail

Floristics & Taxonomy

McClelland, Donald [1].

First steps toward a comprehensive flora of Montserrat, West Indies.

To date, no comprehensive and specific flora or checklist has been completed for Montserrat, West Indies, however, a new investigation of the flora is now underway. Though the island was included in Richard A. Howard’s monumental Flora of the Lesser Antilles, several factors make the current research project necessary. First, the scope of Howard’s work dictated that some of the finer level distributions of species would be missed. Second, though there have been several collecting efforts on Montserrat, relatively few specimens have been collected in relation to the number of species likely occurring there. Third, a period of volcanic activity on Montserrat began in 1995 and is ongoing. The volcanic eruptions during this period led to the total destruction of vegetation on a large portion of the island. The majority of plant collections from Montserrat were made before the current volcanic period began, including those made by the major collectors David E. Brussell (1978-1979), Richard A. Howard (1950-1980), George R. Proctor (1955-1969), and John A. Shafer (1907). Two extensive collecting efforts have been made since 1995, first those lead by Martin Hamilton in 2006 which focused exclusively on one region, the Center Hills, and second the island-wide collecting effort beginning in 2017 for the research presented here. The current research project has begun to address the need for an exhaustive effort to document the botanical diversity of Montserrat with the compilation of an initial checklist of vascular plants. This checklist was compiled based on a literature review, examination of herbarium records, and additional plant collecting. Of particular importance were the digital herbarium specimens available from the herbarium of The New York Botanical Garden, the United States National Herbarium, and the University of South Florida Herbarium as well as collective herbarium database records accessed through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. The initial checklist for vascular plant of Montserrat includes 1174 species and subspecific taxa representing 151 families. Especially given its small geographic area (102 km2), this places Montserrat amongst the more species-rich of the islands of the Lesser Antilles like Guadeloupe, Dominica, and Martinique. To rapidly disseminate floristic data, a website for the flora of Montserrat is under development.

1 - Bard College at Simon's Rock, 84 Alford Rd, Great Barrington, MA, 01230, USA

West Indies
Lesser Antilles

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: F&T I011
Abstract ID:374
Candidate for Awards:George R. Cooley Award

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