photo of P.C. Silva

Paul C. Silva

Research Botanist
University Herbarium
1001 Valley Life Sciences Bldg., # 2465
Berkeley, CA 94720-2465

(510) 643-7007

A Californian by birth and education, I have been associated with the University Herbarium at Berkeley continuously since 1948, with the exception of an 8-year stint at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. My interest in plants was manifested at a very early age, but I wasn't introduced to the wonderful world of seaweeds until my second year of college, when I took a field trip to the Palos Verdes Peninsula near Los Angeles, at that time (1941) a nearly pristine area. Music and gardening are my sources of recreation.

Research Interests:

My M.A. thesis was a survey of the marine algae of the California coast from Monterey southward to Point Conception, a hitherto nearly inaccessible and unknown area. Thus began my enduring interest in floristics and biogeography. Faced with an undescribed Codium from subtidal southern California and adjacent Baja California, I tried to determine where the new species fits into this genus of siphonous green algae. Professor George F. Papenfuss generously gave me material of several undescribed species from South Africa, which served as the basis of my doctoral research. Nearly 50 years later I am still working toward a world-wide monograph of this genus of about 120 species.

Most of my time and effort, however, has been devoted to compiling, integrating, and interpreting nomenclatural, taxonomic, bibliographic, and biographic data in phycology, encompassing algae in their widest sense. These data are recorded on cards that constitute several files of enormous utility. The Index Nominum Algarum (INA) attempts to comprise all scientific names of algae, both extant and fossil, in all taxonomic groups and in all ranks. The Bibliographia Phycologica Universalis (BPU) is the accompanying bibliography. During the past decade, effort has been directed to make these data available electronically to the phycological community. The existence of these files has faciliated immeasurably my contribution to the Index Nominum Genericorum (Plantarum), Authors of Plant Names, and Names in Current Use for Extant Plant Genera. Phycological catalogs include one based on a single genus (Scenedesmus) and two based on geographic regions (Philippines and the Indian Ocean). The various card files are housed together with an extensive library in a room designated "Center for Phycological Documentation".

Selected Publications:

Silva, P. C. (1996).
California seaweeds collected by the Malaspina Expedition,
especially Pelvetia (Fucales, Phaeophyceae). Madroño 43: 345 354.

Pedroche, F. F., and P. C. Silva (1996).
Codium picturatum sp. nov.
(Chlorophyta), una especie extraordinaria del Pacifico tropical mexicano. Acta
Bot. Mex. 35: 1-8.

Silva, P. C., P. W. Basson, and R. L. Moe (1996).
Catalogue of the benthic
marine algae of the Indian Ocean. Univ. Calif. Publ. Bot. 79. xiv + 1259 pp.

Silva, P. C. (1996).
Stability versus rigidity in botanical nomenclature. Beih.
Nova Hedwigia 112: 1-8.
See also this list of publications up to 2002

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This page last updated February 27, 1997.