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The Zoological Collections of H.M.S. “Alert”


    WE need only remind our readers that the Alert, under the command of Capt. Sir George Nares, and his successor, Capt. J. Maclear, made a voyage of survey which lasted during the years 1878-82, that the principal parts of the survey were carried on (1) in the region of the southern extremity of the American continent; (2) in that of the coasts of North-Eastern Australia and Torres Straits; and (3) among the groups of Oceanic Islands in the Western Indian Ocean situated between Madagascar and the Seychelles. Dr. Coppinger was the surgeon on board, and it will be always to his credit that while ever attentive to his official duties he succeeded in making and sending home immense collections of marine animals taken by him at the several stations. Those collected off the South-Eastern American continent were reported on in a series of papers published in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society for 1881, and were presented to the British Museum. Those from the two other regions were also deposited in the British Museum and reported on by the officers of the Zoological Department, but these reports were, both in their extent and importance, far beyond the scope of any periodical publication, and at the suggestion of Dr. Günther, the Keeper of the Zoological Department, the trustees have published the full account in the form of a separate volume. Irrespective of a number of specimens set aside as duplicates, not less than 3700, referable to 1300 species, were incorporated in the national collection, and of these more than one-third were new additions, if not to science at any rate to the Museum. Well may Dr. Günther write that these “pages are by themselves a lasting testimony to the great service rendered by Dr. Coppinger to the National Museum and to the cause of science.”

    Report on the Zoological Collections made in the Indo-Pacific Ocean during the Voyage of H.M.S. “Alert,” 1881–82.

    (London: Printed by Order of the Trustees of the British Museum, 1884.)

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