Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Ridley, Henry Nicholas (England 1855-1956)
economic botany, phytogeography
Ridley had been working at the British Museum when
he was asked to take part in an expedition to Brazil; the experience he
gained there led to his being chosen for the directorship of the botanical
gardens at Singapore. He stayed in this position for more than twenty
years, taking advantage of the post to familiarize himself with the botany
of the surrounding regions. On retiring from the directorship he continued
his natural history studies, living on for another forty-five years. Ridley
is most remembered these days for three things: his monumental five-volume
Flora of the Malay Peninsula, his key role in establishing rubber
as a plantation crop in Malaya, and his interest in the agents of plant
dispersal, study of which led to the publication of his important book
The Dispersal of Plants Throughout the World in 1930.
--born in West Harling Hall, Norfolk, England, on
10 December 1855.
--1878: obtains second class degree in natural science, Exeter College,
--1880: receives the Burdett-Coutts scholarship in geology
--1880: joins the botanical department of the British Museum
--1887: accompanies Royal Society expedition to Brazil
--1888-1911: director of the botanical gardens, Singapore
--1889-1911: secretary and editor of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic
Society, Straits Branch
--1890: publishes "The
Natural History of the Island of Fernando de Noronha" in the Journal
of the Linnean Society
--1890-1891: visits Christmas and Keeling Islands
--1897: visits Borneo and Sumatra
--1903-1916: botanical trips to Sarawak, Java, Burma, Jamaica, India and
--1907: elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London
--1912: publishes his Spices
--1914: awarded the gold medal of the Rubber Planters' Association
--1922-1925: publishes his Flora
of the Malay Peninsula, in five volumes
--1928: receives the Frank N. Meyer medal for foreign plant introduction
--1930: publishes his The Dispersal of Plants Throughout the World
--1950: receives the gold medal of the Linnean Society
--dies at Kew, England, on 24 October 1956.
--Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal
Society, Vol. 3 (1957).
--Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 46 (2004).
--Nature, Vol. 176(4493) (1955): 1092-1093.
--Taxonomic Literature, Vol. 4 (1983).
--Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, Vol. 169 (1958):
--Taxon, Vol. 6(1) (1957): 1-6.
Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights
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