Fusion: Deakin Exhibits Online

Harvey in Western Australia

Algae from Ceylon, Friendly Islands and Australia : collected during the years 1852, '53, '54 and '55

Penicillus arbuscular specimen 564, p. 128.  Harvey desibed this specicmen as  “… a little green Alga, which may be compared either to a miniature tree, or to a shaving brush.” 

During William Harvey’s journey around the world in 1854-56, he spent eighteen months in Australia.  He arrived in Western Australia in January 1854, and spent six months there, collecting algae.  He concentrated on several widely separated points which were the most accessible, namely King George’s Sound and Cape Riche in the south and Fremantle, Garden Island and Rottnest Island on the western coast.

He writes very evocatively of the beautiful sandy beaches and clear waters and describes the algae that he saw both in purely scientific terms and in such a way that makes their variety and appeal much clearer to the non-specialist.  For instance in describing an underwater field of algae he states: “Here is the favourite locality of some eight or ten species of Caulerpa, of several very distinct forms, and every one a beautiful object.  All these are green; but the tints vary from the darkest bottle-green to the pale, fresh green of an opening beech leaf.  Some resemble soft ostrich feathers; others, branches of the Norfolk Island pine; others, string of beads; others, squirrels’ or cats’ tails..”. 8

Charmingly, and accurately, he describes Penicillus arbuscular, “… a little green Alga, which may be compared either to a miniature tree, or to a shaving brush.” 9

However, when it comes to the scientific basis for the differences between two very similar species for instance, he describes Caulerpa Mulleri as coarser and stronger than Caulerpa hypnoides, where “… the surculus and base of stem are clothed with far more densely set and muricated squamae, and the folioli are much smaller, softer, more patent, more laxly set, and more acute.” 10

       

Caulerpa specimens 550, 551, 552, 555, 557, 561 (pp. 124-126), collected from Port Fairy and Brighton Beach in Victoria, and Fremantle and King George's Sound in Western Australia. Harvey noted the variation in these specimens, "...every one a beautiful object. All these are green; but the tints vary from the darkest bottle-green to the pale, fresh green of an opening beech leaf. Some resemble soft ostrich feathers; others, branches of the Norfolk Island pine; others, string of beads; others, squirrels’ or cats’ tails..”