History of Phycology - W.H. Harvey

W.H. Harvey

Willian Henry Harvey (1811–1866), Keeper of the Herbarium and Professor in Botany at Trinity College, Dublin, was one of the most distinguished algologists of his time (Papenfuss, 1976 p. 26). Apart from Ireland he visited South Africa, the Atlantic seaboard of America as far south as the Florida Keys on the east coast of North America and Australia (1854–1856). Between 1853 to 1856 he visited Ceylon, Australia and New Zealand and various parts of the South Pacific (Huisman, 2000 & Papenfuss, 1976). His collection in Australia resulted in one of the most extensive collections of marine plants and it inspired others (Huisman, 2000). He published: Nereis Australis Or Algae of the Southern Ocean in 1847–1849 and in 1846–51 his Phycologia Britannica appeared. His Nereis Boreali-Americana was published in three parts (1852–1858) this was the first, and still is (1976) is the only marine algal flora of North America as it includes taxa from the Pacific coast (Papenfuss, 1976 p. 27). His five-volume Phycologia Australica was published in 1858 to 1863. These volumes remain to this day a most important reference to Australian algae (Huisman, 2000). His primary herbarium is in Trinity College, Dublin (TCD). However large collections of Harvey material are to be found in the Ulster Museum (BEL) (Morton, 1977; Morton, 1981); University of St Andrews (STA) and National Herbarium of Victoria (MEL), Melbourne, Australia (May, 1977). Many of the collectors of this period sent, and exchanged, specimens freely one to another, as a result Harvey's books show a remarkable knowledge of the distribution of algae elsewhere in the world. His Phycologia Britannica lists species recorded and collected from various parts of the British Isles. For example he notes William Thompson (1805–1852), William McCalla (c.1814–1849), John Templeton (1766–1825) and D. Landsborough (1779–1854) who collected, as he did, from distinct sites in Ireland. The collections of these botanists, and many others, are represented separately by collections in the Ulster Museum (BEL).

Sir William Jackson Hooker (1785–1865) was a lifelong friend of Harvey (Papenfuss, 1976 p. 26), he was appointed Professor of Botany at Glasgow University in 1820 and became Director in Kew 1841–1865. Hooker recognized the talent in Harvey and lent him books, encouraged and invited him to write the section on algae in his British Flora. as well as the section on algae for The Botany of Captain Beechey's Voyage (Papenfuss, 1976). Margaret Gatty (1809–1873) (née Margaret Scott) (author of British Seaweeds, 1863), and others, corresponded with William Henry Harvey (Desmond, 1977 and Evans, 2003).

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