Southern, Rowland (1882–1935), marine zoologist, was born 9 May 1882 in Lancashire. He trained in chemistry at the Ramsay Laboratory, Bolton, and in 1902 obtained a position in the laboratory of the Dublin city analyst, Sir Charles Cameron (qv). His interest in biology led him to attend lectures in the College of Science and in 1906 he was appointed to the staff of the natural history section of the National Museum. The following year he received his B.Sc. from the University of London. At the museum he specialised in the study of worms – annelids, polychaetes, oligochaetes, and the lesser known enchytraedes, among others. His publications, mainly in the Irish Naturalist and the RIA's Proceedings, brought a poorly researched area in Irish science into line with other European investigations. He took part in the Clare Island survey (1909–11), describing many new species, and contributed to eight of the sixty-eight RIA reports.
In 1911 he was appointed assistant naturalist to the scientific staff of the fisheries branch of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction. He continued his detailed study of polychaetes, taking part in the general dredging, trawling, and hydrographic investigations off the south and west coasts (1911–14) carried out on board the Helga. He presented many specimens of marine worms to the Natural History Museum. During the first world war he applied for military service but was rejected, owing to his short sight.
In 1919 he was promoted to assistant inspector of fisheries, a position he retained till his death. Following the earlier work of E. W. L. Holt (qv), he was for a time responsible for the experimental oyster farm at Ardfry, Co. Galway. The department was keen to promote increased consumption of freshwater fish and took steps to promote research in this area by opening a new limnological laboratory on the River Shannon, close to Lough Derg. Southern was put in charge and at the end of three years had produced three substantial reports on the diet of brown trout and the vertical migration of planktonic crustacea. After the closure of the laboratory in 1923 he was transferred to Dublin, where he continued his work on growth patterns of salmon and trout. He became more involved in the management of inland fisheries and organised the setting up of hatcheries for freshwater fish. He succeeded George Farran (qv) as Ireland's representative on the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, where he was also an active member of the salmon and trout committee. His fisheries work was always undertaken from an ecological point of view and was marked for its meticulous thoroughness and accuracy. A list of his papers is found in the Irish Naturalists' Journal. Besides his scientific interests he enjoyed music and golf, and was remembered for his genial sense of humour. He was an expert fly fisherman, preferring the more sporting trout to salmon. His knowledge of the fishing waters of Ireland was extensive and contributed to the success of the department's annual publication The Angler's Guide to the Irish Free State. He died unexpectedly 13 December 1935 in Dublin, after a minor operation, at the age of 53.