An Early Collection of the Red Alga <i>Mikamiella ruprechtiana</i> Made by Carl Merck on the Billings Expedition to Alaska (1785–94)

  • Michael J. Wynne
Keywords: Billings Expedition, early collection, Krusenstern Expedition, marine algae, Merck, Mikamiella, red algae, Tilesius, Unalaska


A number of original watercolored illustrations of North Pacific marine algae accompanied by the original algal specimens are deposited in the State Botanical Collection, National Herbarium of Victoria, Australia. These illustrations were executed by W.G. Tilesius, surgeon-naturalist-artist on the Krusenstern Expedition (1803–06). One of these illustrated specimens was collected in the period 1790–91 on Unalaska Island, the Aleutian Islands, by C.H. Merck, naturalist-botanical collector on the Billings Expedition (1785–94). This marine alga, given the manuscript name “Palmetta aleutica” by Tilesius, is one of the earliest known specimens of marine algae collected from Alaskan waters. Its identity is Mikamiella ruprechtiana.