Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2018
  • Online publication date: August 2018

Preface to the Fifth Edition


It has been 45 years since I spent a considerable amount of time among the extensive collections in the old Cullen and the new Wartenweiler libraries at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, writing and illustrating most of the first edition of Phycology. The illustrations were pen and ink, the photographs were done in the wet trays in the darkroom, and the text was written using a Smith Corona typewriter. The Smith Corona typewriter is presumably still in Iran as my family left with only three suitcases and could not carry the typewriter after sitting out the revolution in Shiraz and living under the clerical regime of Khomeini for a few months. We were probably one of the last American families to leave Shiraz. I had been a US Army platoon leader in Vietnam and the family had lived under UDI in Rhodesia, apartheid in South Africa, and had experienced the Portuguese African wars, so we weren't too rattled by the Iranian Revolution. However, after getting past the cordon of Soviet BTR-60 eight-wheeled armored cars and light Scorpion tanks surrounding the Shiraz airport, we were pleased to be getting on an airplane for Bahrain with the first edition of Phycology in hand.

A lot has, of course, changed since then. No more typewriter, everything is done using Microsoft Word on the computer. No more pen and ink, drawings are now done with Adobe Illustrator. No more darkroom, photographs are digitally manipulated with Adobe Photoshop.

The science of phycology has moved on also. In the first edition, the hot research papers were about life cycles and cytology using electron microscopes. These areas of research have now matured and do not generate anywhere near the levels of interest in the field. While the fifth edition of Phycology has generally updated the field, certain areas have received more attention. Specifically:

  • • The evolution of the chloroplast from cyanobacteria has rightly been extensively investigated since the process of photosynthesis is integral to the production of food stuffs for the world population. It has been known for some time that algal chloroplasts evolved from endosymbiotic cyanobacteria. However, it is only recently that many of the transport issues involving control of division and metabolism of chloroplasts has been elucidated, essential information in the understanding of photosynthesis.

  • Related content

    Powered by UNSILO