Table 1. Biomes and related environments, organisms, and principles of natural history discussed by Darwin on his major inland journeys in South America. Route numbers correspond to Figure 1. Biomes based on Global Atlas of Palaeovegetation Since the Last Glacial Maximum (1997).
RouteBiomes and related environmentsOrganismsPrinciples of natural history
(1) El Carmen or Patagones to Bahia Blancatemperate dense tall-grass steppe; desert, Rio Colorado and its alluvial plain, salt flats, sand dunes, saline marshes, mud flatsdeer, guanaco, agouti, armadillo, crabs, skunksculture of indigenous people; impact of humans on size and range of native animals; relationships between Europeans and indigenous people
(2) Bahia Blanca to Buenos Ayrestemperate dense tall-grass steppe; tropical grassland, high plains, mountain peaks, swampsdeer, guanaco, armadillo, “ostrich” (rhea), plover, and other native birdseffect of hail on wildlife; relationship between Spaniards and indigenous people; impact of cattle grazing on natural habitats; effects of introduced and invasive plants on native flora
(3) Buenos Ayres to Santa Fé (returned down the river)tropical grassland, tropical thorn scrub, and scrub woodland; plains, brackish rivers, open woodland, pastureland“bizcacha” (vizcacha or chinchilla), burrowing owls, fossil bones and teetheffect of climate on biodiversity; significance of large fossil species
(4) Monte Video to Mercedes and returntropical grassland; flat plains, rolling hills, rivers, grasslandsagave, cardoon, and thistle, fossil bones and teethdomestication of shepherd dogs; method for breaking horses
(5) Captain's expedition up Santa Cruz Rivertemperate semi-desert; major river and its banks, flat dry plainssmall rodents, small fox, guanacos, agouti, puma, condornatural history of condors
(6) Chiloé: San Carlos to Castro to Cucao, Castro to San Carloscool temperate forest; hills and valleys, damp forest, lakes, open coast, coastal cordillerabromeliads, cultivated fruitsvolcanic eruptions; attitudes of Europeans toward indigenous people
(7) Valparaíso to Mendoza to Santiagosemi-arid temperate scrub, alpine desert, tundra; high mountain valleys, Andean cordilleras, mountain rivers, alpine meadows, high desert plains, montane forest, glaciersfossil shells of marine animals, red snow (colored by algae), agouti, bizcacha, armadillo, rhea, swarm of locusts, forest of petrified trees, cultivated fruitseffects of high altitudes on people; differences in biota on two sides of a mountain range, similarity of biota on same side of range
(8) Valparaíso to Coquimbo to Copiapósemi-arid temperate woodland, tropical extreme desert, montane short-grass steppe; mountains, valleysyucca-like plants, fossil shells, guanaco, petrified trees, cultivated fruitsmining operations; earthquakes; patterns of rabies outbreaks