The Great "Albatross" Philippine Expedition and Its Fishes

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  • After experiencing five years of service in the Atlantic area following its 1882 launching, the U. S. Fish Commission research ship "Albatross" was reassigned to the Pacific coast. During its long career in Pacific waters, the vessel participated in the 1907-1910 Philippine Expedition, its longest and most extensive assignment. Following U. S. acquisition of the Philippines in 1902, the "Albatross" was called upon to survey and assess the aquatic resources of the Philippines. Dr. Hugh M. Smith, Deputy Director of the U. S. Bureau of Fisheries, was Director of the Expedition, which consisted of a series of cruises, each beginning and ending in Manila and exploring a different part of the island group. In addition to the Philippines, the "Albatross" also explored parts of the Dutch East Indies and areas around Hong Kong and Taiwan.
  • The expedition included Paul Bartsch, official representative of the Smithsonian Institution, who left meticulous journals of his experiences; the future director of New York City's American Museum of Natural History, Roy Chapman Andrews, joined the "Albatross" for its last series of cruises in the area. The Philippine Expedition collected vast quantities of fish and invertebrate specimens as well as hydrographic and fisheries data; materials and specimens were transferred to the Smithsonian Institution and deposited into the National Museum of Natural History. The fishes constituted the largest single accession of fishes ever received by the museum when formally accessioned in 1922; they were defined and studied during ensuing years by a number of scientists. The "Albatross" was decommissioned on October 29, 1921 and used as a school ship, but no record of her exists after 1928.


  • Smith, Hugh M (Hugh McCormick) 1865-1941
  • Bartsch, Paul
  • Andrews, Roy Chapman
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • United States Fish Commission
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • Philippine Expedition
  • Albatross (Steamer)


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Article is one of six from a quarterly journal of the National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U. S. Department of Commerce. This issue of the journal is devoted entirely to the U. S. Fish Commission Steamer "Albatross," launched in 1882 as the world's first oceanographic and fisheries research ship; the Introduction features 16 photographs and illustrations. The articles were papers presented at a symposium held on June 30, 1997, at the University of Washington in Seattle; each concerns a phase of the ship's 40-year career as a research vessel. Seven figures accompany the article.

Contained within

Marine Fisheries Review Vol. 61, No. 4 (Journal)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,




  • Scientific expeditions
  • Oceanographic research ships
  • Oceans
  • Fishes
  • Specimens
  • Marine resources
  • Oceanography



Physical description

pgs. 31-41

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