It is probably the most difficult task to express gratitude in an adequate way to those who have had directly or indirectly a share in the present work. So, I would like to place in front, that order in this chapter does not mean everything and I am grateful to everybody who has helped me in any respect during the last 6 years.
In the first instance I would like to thank those Cubans that have supported my field work in any way. Bearing in mind the complicated situation on the island, I know that, without the selfless help of these people, the project would have been doomed to failure right from the beginning. Among many other Cubans I am especially indebted to Marta Aleida Díaz, Cristina Panfet, Ángela Leiva, Juan Llamacho, Armando J. Urquiola Cruz, Carlos Sanchez Villaverde, Anel Matos Viñales, Ernesto Reyes Mauriño, Lucía Hechavarría Schwesinger and her family, Omar Alomá Moreno, Rael Acebal Suárez, Darlén Spencer & Marlon Menéndez.
Despite fundamental differences in history and present orientation, I have found similar hospitality on all islands that I have visited, hence, I would like to extend my gratitude towards George R. Proctor and Cicely & Hermann Tobisch from Kingston, Jamaica, Daisy Castillo from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, as well as James D. Ackerman, Frank S. Axelrod and Raymond L. Tremblay from Puerto Rico.
Investigation and lab work would not have been possible without the help of the staff of several museums and universities which I would like to mention here. In the first instance I would like to thank Claudia & Paul Brückner, from the Arboretum who granted me extra financial support for DNA analyses. Margitta Hielscher lent a helping hand in managing more than a thousand SEM pictures and Martina Rißberger did her utmost to provide me any literature necessary. Additional thanks go to Peter Czaja, Museum of Natural History Berlin, for “cleaning” the SEM lenses. Curators of the following museums and herbaria have willingly provided help by sending herbarium material and further information: AJBC, B, BM, BR, BSC, DUKE, G, GH (AMES), GOET, HAC, HAJB, HPPR, IJ, JE, K, M, NY, S, UPRRP, and W. Special thanks go to Petra Hoffmann from the Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, Dennis Adams from the British Museum, Frank Schumacher (Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna), Lauren Raz (New York Botanical Garden), Gustavo Romero (Herbarium Oakes Ames), Ramona Oviedo Prieto (Herbarium of the Academia de Ciencias La Habana), Jorge Gutierrez (Herbarium of the National Garden La Habana), Hermann Manitz (Herbarium Hausknecht Jena), and Tracy Commock (Herbarium of the Institute of Jamaica, Kingston).
I would like to express my gratitude towards C. Luer who has lent a helpful hand in many “pleurothallid” questions.
I am most grateful to Alec M. Pridgeon from the Jodrell Lab (Royal Botanical Gardens Kew) for valuable hints concerning molecular techniques and for providing matrices from Pridgeon, Solano & Chase (2001).
Furthermore, I would like to thank Frank Hellwig for providing access to the molecular lab at the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena and for taking on part of the costs. I would like to include Susanne Dathe and Marion Sandmann, for their technical assistance.
The staff of the Institute of Biology, Freie Universität Berlin, namely Hartmut H. Hilger and Michael Stech have helped me a lot with theoretical information and granted access to lab facilities. Anita Biesek, Bettina Giesicke, and Carola Müller provided valuable technical assistance, which I gratefully acknowledge.
Werner Greuter (Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem) provided extended and excellent help in taxonomical and nomenclatural issues and fund raising. Christoph Oberprieler and Jana Bansemer took on extra DNA extraction at a very difficult point of my studies.
As a mercy to all Anglo-Americans, Monika Widdig checked my stiff English, which is gratefully acknowledged.
I would like to include the following institutions which have provided financial support during the last 6 years: DAAD (field work in 1998 and 1999), County of Berlin (NaFöG: 1999-2000, travelling expenses), Fazit-Stiftung (2001), KKGS-Stiftung (2002-June 2003), and the Humboldt-University (travelling expenses).
I would like to thank my parents, simply for being still interested in what I am up to. Above all, their share in attending Jakob has provided valuable extra time.
Two scientists have especially nourished my interest in the two objects of desire, which the present study deals with: Cuba and the orchids. For this, material, and ideal help I would like to express my deep gratitude to my tutors Egon Köhler and Helga Dietrich.
My most emotional thanks go to Anja for having shared this, occasionally difficult, time with me.
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