From birds to hydroids: Charles Cleveland Nutting (1858–1927) of the University of Iowa, USA

  • Dale R. Calder
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 178)

Charles Cleveland Nutting (1858–1927) began his academic career at the University of Iowa, and at the Natural History Museum of the university, in 1886. A naturalist with a bent for ornithology, he became interested in cnidarians, and especially hydroids and alcyonarians, as an outcome of expeditions to the Bahamas in 1888 and 1893. Most noteworthy among his works on Cnidaria were three classic volumes on American hydroids, dealing respectively with Plumulariidae (1900), Sertulariidae (1904), and Campanulariidae and Bonneviellidae (1915). Other papers dealt with hydroids from Britain, Alaska and Puget Sound, Woods Hole and vicinity, Hawaii, and the Philippine region. He founded two new families, seven new genera, and 175 new species of Hydrozoa, ranking him among the top three authors of species names in the group. Nutting also described 206 new nominal species of Alcyonaria. Important among his works on alcyonarians were monographs on Indonesian material from the Siboga expedition, and on ‘Albatross’ collections from Hawaii, Japan, and elsewhere in the northwest Pacific. While birds and later hydroids were Nutting’s primary research interests, much of his 41-year professional career was devoted to academic duties at the University of Iowa and to advancement of its Natural History Museum. As museum Director, he significantly expanded the collections, organized exhibits and public programs, and petitioned for satisfactory facilities and funding. Under his leadership, in whole or in part, expeditions to collect specimens for research, teaching, and exhibition were carried out to the Bay of Fundy (1890), Manitoba (1891), the Bahamas and vicinity (1893), Barbados and Antigua (1918), and Fiji and New Zealand (1922). In tribute to Nutting and his contributions to biology, one genus and more than 30 species are named in his honor.

Key words: Alcyonaria, biography, Cnidaria, Hydrozoa, museums, taxonomy


Natural History Museum Hawaiian Island Smithsonian Institution Nominal Species Aleutian Island 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dale R. Calder
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation BiologyRoyal Ontario MuseumTorontoCanada

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