Abstract Detail

Botanical History

McCourt, Richard [1], Josie, Iselin [2].

The marine botanical counterpart to Steinbeck and Rickett's cruise to the Sea of Cortez: E. Yale Dawson and marine algae in the Gulf of California.

The six-week expedition of John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts into the Gulf of California, or Sea of Cortez, in 1940 was a landmark in exploration at a time when little was known of what was then a very remote region of North America’s Pacific Coast.  The cruise was immortalized by a classic book of littoral literature and a taxonomic catalog of creatures, Sea of Cortez. A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research, co-authored by Steinbeck and Ricketts.  Their collections focused mainly on invertebrates in the littoral and shallow subtidal zone.  Earlier that same year another less well-known but better funded cruise also went into the Sea of Cortez, but this one included a Berkeley undergraduate with boundless energy and ambition who would collect marine algae.  The young biologist was E. Yale Dawson, whose passions were marine algae and cacti.  He wrote his Berkeley PhD thesis about the hundreds of collections he made in the Sea of Cortez that year.  While not immortalizing his cruise as the Nobel Prize winning Steinbeck helped to do, Dawson provided a flora of the Sea of Cortez that was a parallel to the faunal taxonomic catalog Steinbeck and Ricketts.  Here, we give an overview of Dawson's Sea of Cortez marine algal collections and his career as a botanist that was cut short by a tragic accident.

Related Links:
Web site of Josie Iselin, Marine Botanical Artist
Macroalgal Herbrium Portal
Sea of Cortez Website by Dr. Richard C. Brusca
Papers of E. Yale Dawson,Smithsonian Dept. of Botany Archives

1 - 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA, 19103, United States
2 - Loving Blind Productions, 622 29th Street, San Francisco, CA, 94131, USA

Marine algae
Sea of Cortez
E. Yale Dawson
Rickets and Steinbeck.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: HIST1, Botanical History
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2020
Time: 3:45 PM
Number: HIST1004
Abstract ID:217
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright © 2000-2020, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved