History of Phycology - Early 19th Century

Early 19th Century

Carl Adolph Agardh was one of the most prominent algologists of all time, he was born in Sweden on 23 January 1785 and died on 28 January 1859. He was Professor of Botany at the University of Lund and later Bishop of Karlstad Diocese (Papenfuss, 1976). Many species still show his name as the authority of the scientific name. He traveled widely in Europe visiting Germany, Poland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Italy and was the first to emphasize the importance of the reproductive characters of algae and use them to distinguish the different genera and families. His son, Jacob Georg Agardh (1813–1901), who became Professor of Botany at Lund in 1839, made a study of the life-histories of algae, described many new genera and species. It was to him that many workers sent specimens for determination and as donations. Because of this the herbarium at Lund is the most important algal herbaria in the world (Papenfuss, 1976).

The first records of algae from the Faroe Islands were made by Jørgen Landt in his book of 1800 where he mentions about 30 species. Following this, Hans Christian Lyngbye visited the Faroe Islands in 1817 and published his work in 1819. In this, he described several new genera and species, some 100 new species were listed. Emil Rostrup who visited the Faroe Islands in 1867 listed ten new species and a total not far from 100. In 1895, Herman G. Simmons mentioned 125 species. In that year F. Børgesen (1866–1956) started work and in 1902 published his work (Børgesen, 1902).

Jean Vincent Félix Lamouroux (1779–1825) was the first, in 1813, to separate the algae into groups on the basis of colour (Dixon and Irvine, 1977 p. 59). At this time all coralline algae were considered animals, it was R. Philippi who in 1837 published his paper in which he finally recognized that coralline algae were not animals and he proposed the generic names Lithophyllum and Lithothamnion (Irvine and Chamberlain, 1994 p. 11).

Freshwater algae are commonly treated separately from marine algae and may be considered not correctly placed in phycology. Lewis Weston Dillwyn (1778–1855) "British Confervae" (1809) was one of the earliest attempts to bring together all that was then known on the British Freshwater algae .

Specimens of Anne E. Ball (1808–1872) have been found in both the Herbarium of the Irish National Botanic Gardens, Dublin and the Ulster Museum (BEL). A.E.Ball was an Irish algologist who corresponded with W.H. Harvey and whose records appear in his Phycologia Britannica. The specimens in Dublin do not contain any unusual or rare items. However, they are well documented.

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