The Indian Ocean Catalogue was jointly conceived by Philip Basson, who was researching algae in the Persian Gulf, and G.F. Papenfuss, formerly of the Department of Botany, University of California. The original goal--to produce for the Persian Gulf region a reference like the catalogue that Papenfuss had produced for the Red Sea--was greatly expanded as a result of Papenfuss's interest in the algae of the east coast of Africa. See Scope. The project was begun in 1977 and has proceeded intermittently. The initial, literature-searching phase, which was partly funded by NSF, was undertaken mainly by Basson. Papenfuss, who was to have assembled the algal records in a modern taxonomic framework, died not long after the project began and his role was taken over by Paul Silva, who became responsible for taxonomy and nomenclature. Richard Moe joined the project in 1987, entering the records into a computer, updating the entries as necessary, verifying data, and attempting to ensure consistency throughout the whole.