1956-57 Fifth Archbold Expedition to New Guinea


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1956-57 Fifth Archbold Expedition to New Guinea

The penultimate Archbold expedition to New Guinea was again led by Leonard J. Brass, an Australian botanist and associate curator of the Archbold Expeditions. He was accompanied by two staff members from the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH): zoologist Russell F. Peterson and assistant Lionel J. Evennett. The trip was a continuation of the previous effort to describe and classify the biology, geography, and climate of the Southwest Pacific archipelago. The Arnold Arboretum agreed to provide funding for this expedition under the condition that plant material from the Fourth Archbold Expedition be identified and submitted to the Harvard University Herbaria.

The team departed in March of 1956 and returned in January 1957. They explored the southeastern mainland of New Guinea, and four islands to the north: Fergusson, Normandy, Rossel, and Woodlark. The regions explored contained less biological diversity compared to the previous regions that possessed more varied forest types and a wider elevation range. Nevertheless, the collections were notable. As Brass published in his detailed summary, the team made 2,657 collections of plants (14,640 specimens including duplicates). Specimens were sent to Rijks Herbarium in the Netherlands for identification before sets of duplicates were sent to the Arnold Arboretum, the United States National Herbarium, and additional herbaria.

Additional Resources Brass, L. J. (1959). “Summary of the Fifth Archbold Expedition to New Guinea.” Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 118(1); New York : American Museum of Natural History [link].