Gilbert M. Smith Herbarium
Hopkins Marine Station, Pacific Grove, CA
The Monterey Peninsula is world-renowned for its marine flora. Many seaweeds were first described from these beautiful shores. The Gilbert Morgan Smith Herbarium (GMS) at Hopkins Marine Station houses hundreds of specimens collected at or near their type localities, many of which were the basis for illustrations in Abbott and Hollenberg's Marine Algae of California (see right: Gigartina exasperata [=Chondracanthus exasperatus]). This important historic collection was recently curated and inventoried to honor the invaluable achievements of Smith, Abbott, and Hollenberg. GMS comprises four herbarium cases of specimens, representing more than 600 species. A complete list of species in the collection is now available online.
GMS herbarium inventory is now online (click on division):
Chlorophyta (Greens) Phaeophyceae (Browns) Rhodophyta (Reds)
Please note that the GMS Herbarium does not contain any type specimens and it does not loan specimens. If you are interested in visiting, please contact Freya Sommer (freya at stanford dot edu).
Dr. Gilbert Smith came to Hopkins as a professor of botany in 1925. Although he published many original articles, Smith is best known for his books, including Freshwater Algae of the United States (1933), Cryptogamic Botany (1938), and Marine Algae of the Monterey Peninsula (1944). With its graceful illustrations and superb descriptions of seaweed form and habitat, Marine Algae of the Monterey Peninsula was, and still is, a landmark achievement. Smith retired in 1950, but remained scientifically active until he died in 1959.
One of Smith’s companions on algal collecting trips was Dr. George J. Hollenberg, who received his PhD at Stanford in 1933 and became a botany professor at the University of Redlands in southern California. After Smith’s retirement, Hollenberg taught summer classes in marine botany at Hopkins, 1950-1967.
In 1950, having finished their PhDs at the University of California at Berkeley, Drs. Donald P. and Isabella A. Abbott moved to Hopkins to pursue their two passions: invertebrates and marine algae. Don Abbott accepted a lectureship and, soon after, a professorship at Hopkins. Isabella Abbott studied the local flora without a permanent position at Hopkins for some twenty years, working closely with George Hollenberg. In 1966, Hollenberg and I. A. Abbott published their Supplement to Smith’s Marine Algae of the Monterey Peninsula, adding 55 new algal species to the list. In 1973, Isabella Abbott was officially hired as a lecturer at Hopkins, and in 1974 she accepted a full professorship.
Abbott and Hollenberg continued to collaborate, and in 1976, they published their classic Marine Algae of California. The purpose of this monumental compendium, based on Smith’s Marine Algae of the Monterey Peninsula, was to extend “the descriptions offered by Smith to embrace the variations shown by the species…throughout their California distribution.” M.A.C. includes descriptions and illustrations of 669 species, with contributions from six specialists, and an excellent historical review of west coast phycology by George F. Papenfuss. Now more than 30 years old, M.A.C. continues to be used by students and scientists throughout the northeastern Pacific, from Alaska to Mexico.