Alan Riverstone McCulloch
Alan Riverstone McCulloch (20 June 1885 – 1 September 1925) was a prominent Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n ichthyologist
Ichthyology is the branch of zoology devoted to the study of fish. This includes skeletal fish , cartilaginous fish , and jawless fish...


McCulloch was born in Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

, and began his scientific career at the age of 13 as an unpaid assistant to Edgar Ravenswood Waite
Edgar Ravenswood Waite
Edgar Ravenswood Waite was a British/Australian ichthyologist, ornithologist and zoologist.Waite was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, the second son of John Waite, a bank clerk,...

 in the Australian Museum
Australian Museum
The Australian Museum is the oldest museum in Australia, with an international reputation in the fields of natural history and anthropology. It features collections of vertebrate and invertebrate zoology, as well as mineralogy, palaeontology, and anthropology...

 there; Waite encouraged McCulloch to study zoology. Three years later, he was employed as a "mechanical assistant", and five years after that, as curator
A curator is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution is a content specialist responsible for an institution's collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material...

 of fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

es, a post he held until his death.

McCulloch collected and published prolifically; from his first paper in 1906 (published in Records of the Australian Museum), no year passed without his making a contribution to science, and he wrote over 100 original papers in all, many including his own illustrations. McCulloch travelled widely for his collections, including trips to Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

, Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island is an irregularly crescent-shaped volcanic remnant in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, directly east of mainland Port Macquarie, and about from Norfolk Island. The island is about 11 km long and between 2.8 km and 0.6 km wide with an area of...

, New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

, the Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the world'slargest reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres over an area of approximately...

 and various Pacific islands
Pacific Islands
The Pacific Islands comprise 20,000 to 30,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are also sometimes collectively called Oceania, although Oceania is sometimes defined as also including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago....

. His major research interest was in fish, but he was also given the responsibility of the crustacean
Crustaceans form a very large group of arthropods, usually treated as a subphylum, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at , to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span...

 collection from 1905 to 1921, and he wrote several significant papers on decapods
The decapods or Decapoda are an order of crustaceans within the class Malacostraca, including many familiar groups, such as crayfish, crabs, lobsters, prawns and shrimp. Most decapods are scavengers. It is estimated that the order contains nearly 15,000 species in around 2,700 genera, with...

. In 1922 McCulloch journeyed through Papua with Captain Frank Hurley
Frank Hurley
James Francis "Frank" Hurley, OBE was an Australian photographer and adventurer. He participated in a number of expeditions to Antarctica and served as an official photographer with Australian forces during both world wars.His artistic style produced many memorable images but he also used staged...

. In 1922 his Check List of Fishes and Fish-like Animals of New South Wales was published by the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales.

McCulloch's hectic schedule seems to have damaged his health, and he was forced to spend a year off work for his health's sake. He died, however, on Honolulu in 1925. His collection ultimately included over 40,000 specimens, and he was considered "the greatest authority on fish in the southern hemisphere" (David Starr Jordan
David Starr Jordan
David Starr Jordan, Ph.D., LL.D. was a leading eugenicist, ichthyologist, educator and peace activist. He was president of Indiana University and Stanford University.-Early life and education:...

). A monument to his memory stands on Lord Howe Island. In 1930, A Check List of the Fishes Recorded from Australia, edited by Gilbert P. Whitley from McCulloch's materials was published as Memoir V of the Australian museum of Sydney.

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