New lichen species discovered in Antarctica named after Turkish geographer

Ottoman Admiral Piri Reis drew the oldest known map showing Antarctica 300 years before the continent was explored

A newly discovered species of lichen in Antarctica is named after Piri Reis, an Ottoman geographer and navigator who illustrated the continent on his map 300 years before its discovery.

The new species of lichen is called “Leptogium Pirireisii” by Gokhan Halici, a biologist at Erciyes University of Turkey in the central province of Kayseri.

Halici was part of the first Turkish team to conduct scientific research in Antarctica. Appointed by Istanbul Technical University’s Study Pole Application and Research Center (PolReC) to conduct scientific research in December 2016, he returned to Turkey with 500 samples from 150 different species.

The professor told the Anadolu Agency that he discovered the new species among the samples he collected in Antarctica.

“It belongs to a genus called Leptogium. We also registered it under that name in the fungal bank. The study, in which we describe this species, has been accepted by the New Zealand Journal of Botany.”

Lichen samples collected in Antarctica are classified with the support of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK), he said.

Pointing out that Piri Reis is one of the famous Turkish scientists in history whom he most admires, Halici said that Piri Reis’ map published in 1513 showed Antarctica, South America and the islands there. low, although the continent was not discovered at the time.

The newly discovered species went through a scientific filter, assessed by arbitrators, and deemed appropriate and deserving of publication, he said.

Piri Reis produced the oldest known map of the globe in 1513. He created the map by incorporating the knowledge of sailors traveling all over the world and using their skills in mathematics and geometry.

Ottoman Admiral Piri Reis was honored by UNESCO which declared 2013 “Piri Reis Year”.

* Written by Yunus Girgin in Ankara

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