Women and Science

Knight, Margery & Mary W. Parke | Manx Algae

  • First edition, first impression of this guide by one of Britain’s leading phycologists.

    Mary Winifred Parke (1908-1989) studied botany at Liverpool University, then joined the marine station on the Isle of Man where she studied algae under Margery Knight, who specialised in their cytology and life histories. “Together they published a handbook describing the algae of the area, Manx Algae, which appeared in 1931” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 978).

    After receiving her doctorate Parke continued at the marine station. She made important discoveries about the microscopic organisms oysters that feed on, which led to a new culturing process for oyster farming. During the Second World War she and Knight designed new types of agar and alginate for bacteriological use. The development of powerful new microscopes after the war renewed her interest in marine flagellates, and together with the electron microscopy pioneer Irene Manton she published fourteen  important papers. “They described unusual details of structure including extracellular scales and an organelle capable of attaching itself to solid substrates. They also described the role of other organelles that could form and package material for extracellular transport. They carefully described the importance of these organisms in rock-building as well as in the pelagic food chain” (ODNB).

  • ...An Algal Survey of the South End of the Isle of Man. With Two Maps and 19 Plates. L.M.B.C. Memoirs on Typical British Marine Plants & Animals, Edited by James Johnstone. Liverpool: University Press of Liverpool, 1931. Octavo. Original white boards printed in black, red cloth backstrip. Folding chart, 2 maps, and 19 plates, errata slip at page 7. Binding rubbed and spotted with some wear at the ends of the spine. Very good condition.