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Historically, interest in the region dates back to Pennant (1774), after which there were several accounts of the natural history of various areas. However, detailed lists with locations started to appear from 1835 and into the 1840s when Thompson and also Hyndman (between 1842 and 1859) published several papers on, particularly, Irish Mollusca. Throughout the 19th century, there was considerable interest in the Firth of Clyde with many works, ranging from short notes on individual species (many by Robertson between 1859 and 1896) in the Glasgow Naturalist and similar journals, to longer works on the natural history of the area.

Dredging really began with Jeffreys. He published largely taxonomic papers from 1847 in the Annals and Magazine of NaturalĀ  History, but his, to us, important dredging work was his 1866 Report on dredging among the Hebrides and his work on the Mollusca procured during the Lightning and Porcupine expeditions of 1869 and 1870, published between 1879 and 1884, completed after his death by Sykes (1903-1925). Following Jeffreys, Chaster (between 1895 and 1898) and Hart (1892) in particular dredged around north of Ireland, and Knight and Somerville (between 1893 and 1906) dredged extensively in the Clyde and to some extent in other areas. Some of their specimens are lodged in the collections of the National Museums of Scotland and in Glasgow Museum and Art Gallery. Others are in the Marshall collection in the National Museum of Wales, where they, together with dredging records, formed, with little acknowledgment in his publications, a considerable part of Marshall's data in his Additions to British Conchology (1893 through to 1917). It is interesting to note that a significant number of localised specimens extant in the National Museum of Wales Marshall Collection cannot be matched with any of his published records.

Dredging from the Garland, a fisheries research vessel, in which Knight also was involved, was published by Fulton in 1897 and 1898. There was a lull in research from approximately the start of the war in 1914 until almost the 1970s. During this period, activity at the Millport laboratory was reported by Elmhirst in many short notes between 1908 and 1946. The work in the Clyde has been summarised by Allen (1962). Fisher, later called McMillan, wrote about the Mollusca of the north coast of Ireland between 1927 and 1950.

Modern recording began in the 1970s with surveys by the Nature Conservancy Council and the then Scottish Marine Biological Association (now the Scottish Association for Marine Science) at Oban, and in Northern Ireland by the Ulster Museum. Records have also been obtained from work carried out by the then Department for Agriculture and Fisheries, Scotland, now the Fisheries Research Service.

Copyright © Shelagh Smith & Julia Nunn