A variety of mounted beetle specimens in collection trays.

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National Phycology Collection of Canada

Paul Hamilton © Canadian Museum of Nature

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Paul Hamilton © Canadian Museum of Nature

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The National Phycology Collection of Canada is part of the National Herbarium of Canada. Its main focus is on North America, but there are also representative materials from around the world. The collection has its own international code: CANA.

The more than 84 000 samples or lots contain an estimated 350 000 specimens. About 300 are type specimens. The collection also includes a complete set of the Phycotheca Boreali-Americana exsiccata.

The algae collection that formed the national collection's foundation was started in 1882 by John Macoun. It was maintained within the botanical collection until it became a distinct collection in 1966, when the first phycological curator was hired. The seaweed collection grew quickly for the next decade, and then in the early 1980s, the emphasis changed to diatoms and micro-algae. Currently, diatoms comprise about two-thirds of the collection, although specimens representing all algal types are of interest for the national collection.

Online Collection Data

Data are available online in the National Phycology Collection of Canada Database. About 150 000 specimens are catalogued there. Many of the specimens have water-quality data.

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