The Malik Fernando Collections
This site is based on my Marine Natural History and Marine Antiquities Collections.
Having been a diver for many years, I was struck by the variety of animals and plants that had not been recorded or studied by other Sri Lankans in recent years. What information was available was to be found in old publications and in the work of foreigners who had visited the country. I began collecting marine invertebrates for a home aquarium and for identification in the nineteen-seventies as I was interested in the names of these animals; and of the marine algae, the seaweeds.
Over the years I built up a collection of dried specimens, photographs—both under water as well as ex situ images—drawings and a seaweed herbarium.
In 1987 the Sri Lanka Sub-Aqua Club was established and we were soon diving in the Galle Harbour where we found the sea bed littered with fragments of old glass bottles, ceramics and clay pipes used for smoking tobacco. These we collected and slowly built up a collection, mostly of glass bottles and clay pipes. Starting life as a club collection, it ended up as my collection when the club went into decline for some years. Having realised that complete bottles collected by local divers reached the small antique shops I was able to find many good examples in them. In later years many good pieces that were in private hands reached these shops and I was able to purchase them. The majority of the bottles in the collection have been purchased and only a few collected from the harbour by us. The clay pipe collection, on the other hand, is essentially what I and my fellow divers have found on the sea bed of the harbour and a few that have been purchased.
I have, in recent years, been working mostly on the marine gastropod and bivalve collection that has kept expanding. I retired from SCUBA diving around 2012 and since then have discovered a treasure trove of seashells amongst the fishing trash (bycatch from bottom-set nets that are discarded) found on the beaches where fishing boats are drawn up. This website contains a collection of articles—published and unpublished (the majority)—as well as photographs of items in my collection.
I hope visitors will find the site useful and instructive. But most of all, I hope its contents will stimulate others to document and research the unknown bounty beneath our seas around Sri Lanka. Underwater diving is easy to learn and the facilities are widely available in Sri Lanka as of now.
1st January, 2019
The tabs at the head of the page will lead you to my published and unpublished articles on Marine algae, Marine invertebrates and Artefacts of archaeological interest from the sea or other sources. In time, I hope there will be terrestrial fauna and flora items too.