The Development of Biological Studies in the Ocean Environment

  • T. R. Parsons
Conference paper

Abstract

During the 1800s the first organized attempts were made to study the world’s oceans and their resources. A brief resumé of the dates for the establishment of some of the more important organizations and laboratories is given in Table 1. In setting up these organizations and laboratories it was well recognized at the time that the study of the fish of the sea could not be separated from a study of their environment. This is found in various quotations written at the time. For example, the work of the U.S. Fish Commission (Goode 1884) was described as being divided into three sections. The first of these was “The systematic investigation of the waters of the United States and the biological and physical problems which they present.” This purpose was reinforced by the first Commissioner, Professor Baird, who insisted “… that to study the food-fishes would be of little importance, and that useful conclusions must needs rest upon a broad foundation of investigations purely scientific in character.” This statement was supported by a subsequent Commissioner of Fisheries, the Hon. Marshall Macdonald (Prince 1907) who said:
The knowledge to be obtained by such investigations is absolutely necessary as a foundation upon which to build an intelligent, rational administration of our fishery interests. A knowledge of life in its relation to environment is an important subject which biological investigators have not heretofore sufficiently dealt with, but which, it seems to me, is necessary in order to give practical value to special studies of different species. After all, it is the relations and interdependence of life to the aggregate and of conditions influencing
Table 1

Some of the earliest organizations and laboratories founded for the purpose of conducting studies on the biology of the sea encing it adversely or otherwise, that mainly concern those who are seeking to apply scientific methods of investigation to economic problems.

Organization

Date

The Royal Commission to Investigate Fisheries Problems

1863

Marine Laboratory of the Prussian Commission (Kiel)

1870

Commission zur Wissenschaftlichen Untersuchungen der

Deutschen Meere

1871

United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries

1872

Stazione Zoologica (Naples)

1873

U.S. Fisheries Commission Laboratory (Woods Hole)

1885

Marine Biological Association Laboratory (Plymouth)

1888

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea

1902

it adversely or otherwise, that mainly concern those who are seeking to apply scientific methods of investigation to economic problems.

Keywords

Depression Phytoplankton Photosynthesis Straw Fishing 

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