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Isle of Cumbrae, United Kingdom

The nineteenth-century growth of biology, particularly as developed in Germany, was focused initially on morphology and anatomy. In Britain, the growth of biology followed T. H. Huxley's principle of teaching the characters of certain plants and animals selected as types of vegetable and animal organization, which brought demands for marine specimens for dissection. The history of the provision of such material in Britain is investigated, particularly apropos of the Marine Station at Millport. Supplementary information is presented on the equally long-standing specimen trade at Plymouth and on two small commercial concerns that supplied marine specimens (from the Isle of Luing and Shoreham-by-Sea). The demise of the specimen-supply trade in Britain in recent decades has resulted from curriculum changes in schools and universities no longer requiring students to do dissections (relating also to Health and Safety concerns about formalin-preserved material); and biology departments that can often no longer, as a result of financial stringency, afford the "luxury" of supplying students with the range of practical experiences that previous generations once valued so highly. The concern among some students about the ethics, or religious strictures, surrounding dissection is acknowledged. The need for biological conservation is stressed, as too, the need for awareness of the risks posed by alien species introduced into foreign ecosystems via international trade in live marine organisms. © The Society for the History of Natural History. Source

Moore P.G.,University Marine Biological Station Millport
Archives of Natural History

The literary and pedagogic style of books popularizing marine natural history for the British public shifted during the nineteenth century. Previously, natural history books had been written largely by men, with notable exceptions like Isabella Gifford, Mary Gatty and Mary Roberts. Gentlemen naturalists tended to be clerics or medics; educated men conventionally viewing their interest as revelatory of the Divine in nature. Typically, women were less well educated than men but some from clerical backgrounds, having better access to learning, became significant popularizers of natural history. Gosse's works promoting aquaria and "rock-pooling" (typically among the middle classes), helped to develop a ready market for the plethora of popular seashore books appearing in the 1850s; with coastal access being facilitated by expansion of the railways. Controversies concerning evolution rarely penetrated works aimed at a popular readership. However, the style adopted by marine natural history writers had changed noticeably by the end of the nineteenth century. The earlier conversational dialogue or narrative forms gave way to a more terse scientific style, omitting references to the Divine. Evolutionary ideas were affecting populist texts on littoral natural history, even if only covertly. © The Society for the History of Natural History. Source

Moore P.G.,University Marine Biological Station Millport
Archives of Natural History

Dugald Semple (1884-1964), living in Ayrshire, Scotland, was a prolific twentieth-century author of books and articles in local newspapers on natural history, as well as on diet and simple living. Forsaking a conventional urban life he chose to live close to nature in rural surroundings. Espousing vegetarianism he emulated Thoreau, following for fifty years a Ghandi-like philosophy of simplicity while earning enough from his writings and lecturing to provide for what he could not grow himself. It was his life outdoors and his enthusiasm for the natural world that he imparted not only in the printed word, but also in lectures to all who were prepared to listen. He illustrated many of his articles with his own photographs, a collection of which survive as deteriorating glass-quarter-plate negatives and lantern slides, along with three decrepit, but extensive, scrapbooks of his personal press cuttings. These form the basis for his contribution to the popularization of natural history, which deserves to be more widely recognized. © The Society for the History of Natural History. Source

Allen J.A.,University Marine Biological Station Millport
Journal of Conchology

An account is given of two hadal bivalves obtained from box core and epibenthic sled samples taken from the bottom of the Philippine Trench between 9600m to 9807m. Additional data on the protobranch Parayoldiella hadalis are presented and a new species of Thyasiridae (Axinulus philippinensis sp. nov.) is described. Source

Moore P.G.,University Marine Biological Station Millport
Archives of natural history

Twenty nine items of correspondence from the mid-1950s discovered recently in the archives of the University Marine Biological Station Millport, and others made available by one of the illustrators and a referee, shed unique light on the publishing history of "Collins pocket guide to the sea shore". This handbook, generally regarded as a classic of its genre, marked a huge step forwards in 1958; providing generations of students with an authoritative, concise, affordable, well illustrated text with which to identify common organisms found between the tidemarks from around the coasts of the British Isles. The crucial role played by a select band of illustrators in making this publication the success it eventually became, is highlighted herein. The difficulties of accomplishing this production within commercial strictures, and generally as a sideline to the main employment of the participants, are revealed. Such stresses were not helped by changing demands on the illustrators made by the authors and by the publishers. Source

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