« PreviousContinue »
Royal Society in promoting "a Circumnavigation Expedition, specially fitted out to carry the Physical and Biological Exploration of the Deep Sea into all the Great Oceanic Areas"; and our council subsequently appointed a committee consisting of Dr. Carpenter, Professor Huxley and others to cooperate with the Royal Society in carrying out these objects.
It has been said that the Challenger Expedition will rank in history with the voyages of Vasco da Gama, Columbus, Magellan and Cook. Like these it added new regions of the globe to our knowledge, and the wide expanses thus opened up for the first time, the floors of the oceans, though less accessible, are vaster than the discoveries of any previous exploration.
Sir Wyville Thomson, although leader of the expedition, did not live to see the completed results, and Sir John Murray will be remembered in the history of science as the Challenger naturalist who brought to a successful issue the investigation of the enormous collections and the publication of the scientific results of that memorable voyage: these two Scots share the honor of having guided the destinies of what is still the great est oceanographic exploration of all times.
In addition to taking his part in the general work of the expedition, Murray devoted special attention to three subjects of primary importance in the science of the sea, viz.: (1) the plankton or floating life of the oceans, (2) the deposits forming on the sea bottoms, and (3) the origin and mode of formation of coral reefs and islands. It was characteristic of his broad and synthetic outlook on nature that, in place of working at the speciography and anatomy of some group of organisms, however novel, interesting and attractive to the naturalist the deep-sea organisms might seem to be, he took up wide-reaching general problems with economic and geological as well as biological applications.
Each of the three main lines of investigation-deposits, plankton and coral reefs which Murray undertook on board the Challenger has been most fruitful of results both in his own hands and those of others. His plank
ton work has led on to those modern planktonic researches which are closely bound up with the scientific investigation of our seafisheries.
His work on the deposits accumulating on the floor of the ocean resulted, after years of study in the laboratory as well as in the field, in collaboration with the Abbé Renard of the Brussels Museum, afterwards professor at Ghent, in the production of the monumental "Deep-Sea Deposits" volume, one of the Challenger Reports, which first revealed to the scientific world the detailed nature and distribution of the varied submarine deposits of the globe and their relation to the rocks forming the crust of the earth.
These studies led, moreover, to one of the romances of science which deeply influenced Murray's future life and work. In accumulating material from all parts of the world and all deep-sea exploring expeditions for comparison with the Challenger series, some ten years later, Murray found that a sample of rock from Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, which had been sent to him by Commander (now Admiral) Aldrich, of H.M.S. Egeria, was composed of a valuable phosphatic material. This discovery in Murray's hands gave rise to a profitable commercial undertaking, and he was able to show that some years ago the British Treasury had already received in royalties and taxes from the island considerably more than the total cost of the Challenger Expedition.
That first British circumnavigating expedition on the Challenger was followed by other national expeditions (the American Tuscarora and Albatross, the French Travailleur, the German Gauss, National and Valdivia, the Italian Vettor Pisani, the Dutch Siboga, the Danish Thor and others) and by almost equally celebrated and important work by unofficial oceanographers such as Alexander Agassiz, Sir John Murray with Dr. Hjort in the Michael Sars, and the Prince of Monaco in his magnificent ocean-going yacht, and by much other good work by many investigators in smaller and humbler vessels. One of these supplementary expeditions I must refer to briefly because of its connection with sea-fisheries. The
Triton, under Tizard and Murray, in 1882, while exploring the cold and warm areas of the Faroe Channel separated by the Wyville-Thomson ridge, incidentally discovered the famous Dubh-Artach fishing grounds, which have been worked by British trawlers ever since.
Notwithstanding all this activity during the last forty years since oceanography became a science, much has still to be investigated in all seas in all branches of the subject. On pursuing any line of investigation one very soon comes up against a wall of the unknown or a maze of controversy. Peculiar difficulties surround the subject. The matters investigated are often remote and almost inaccessible. Unknown factors may enter into every problem. The samples required may be at the other end of a rope or a wire eight or ten miles long, and the oceanographer may have to grope for them literally in the dark and under other difficult conditions which make it uncertain whether his samples when obtained are adequate and representative, and whether they have undergone any change since leaving their natural environment. It is not surprising then that in the progress of knowledge mistakes have been made and corrected, that views have been held on what seemed good scientific grounds which later on were proved to be erroneous. For example, Edward Forbes, in his division of life in the sea into zones, on what seemed to be sufficiently good observations in the Ægean, but which we now know to be exceptional, placed the limit of life at 300 fathoms, while Wyville Thompson and his fellow-workers on the Porcupine and Challenger showed that there is no azoic zone even in the great abysses.
of how deep-sea animals were nourished in the absence of seaweeds. Here was a widespread protoplasmic meadow up which other organisms could graze. Belief in Bathybius seemed to be confirmed and established by Wyville Thomson's results in the Porcupine Expedition of 1869, but was exploded by the naturalists in the Challenger some five years later. Buchanan in his recently published "Accounts Rendered" tells us how he and his colleague Murray were keenly on the look-out for hours at a time on all possible occasions for traces of this organism, and how they finally proved, in the spring of 1875 on the voyage between Hong-Kong and Yokohama, that the all pervading substance like coagulated mucus was an amorphous precipitate of sulphate of lime thrown down from the seawater in the mud on the addition of a certain proportion of alcohol. He wrote to this effect from Japan to Professor Crum Brown, and it is in evidence that after receiving this letter Crum Brown interested his friends in Edinburgh by showing them how to make Bathybius in the chemical laboratory. Huxley at the Sheffield meeting of the British Association in 1879 handsomely admitted that he had been mistaken, and it is said that he characterized Bathybius as "not having fulfilled the promise of its youth." Will any of our present oceanographic beliefs share the fate of Bathybius in the future? Some may, but even if they do they may well have been useful steps in the progress of science. Although like Bathybius they may not have fulfilled the promise of their youth, yet, we may add, they will not have lived in the minds of man in vain.
Many of the phenomena we encounter in oceanographic investigations are so complex, are or may be affected by so many diverse factors, that it is difficult, if indeed possible, to be sure that we are unravelling them aright and that we see the real causes of what we observe.
Some few things we know approximatelynothing completely. We know that the greatest depths of the ocean, about six miles, are a little greater than the highest mountains on land, and Sir John Murray has calculated that
if all the land were washed down into the sea the whole globe would be covered by an ocean averaging about two miles in depth. We know the distribution of temperatures and salinities over a great part of the surface and a good deal of the botton of the oceans, and some of the more important oceanic currents have been charted and their periodic variations, such as those of the Gulf Stream, are being studied. We know a good deal about the organisms floating or swimming in the surface waters (the epi-plankton), and also those brought up by our dredges and trawls from the bottom in many parts of the world—although every expedition still makes large additions to knowledge. The region that is least known to us, both in its physical conditions and also its inhabitants, is the vast zone of intermediate waters lying between the upper few hundred fathoms and the bottom. That is the region that Alexander Agassiz from his observations with closing tow-nets on the Blake Expedition supposed to be destitute of life, or at least, as modified by his later observations on the Albatross, to be relatively destitute compared with the surface and the bottom, in opposition to the contention of Murray and other oceanographers that an abundant meso-plankton was present, and that certain groups of animals, such as the Challengerida and some kinds of Medusa, were characteristic of these deeper zones. I believe that, as sometimes happens in scientific controversies, both sides were right up to a point, and both could support their views upon observations from particular regions of the ocean under certain circumstances.
But much still remains unknown or only imperfectly known even in matters that have long been studied and where practical applications of great value are obtained-such as the investigation and prediction of tidal phenomena. We are now told that theories require re-investigation and that published tables are not sufficiently accurate. To take another practical application of oceanographic work, the ultimate causes of variations in the abundance, in the sizes, in the movements and in the qualities of the fishes of our coastal industries are still to seek, and not withstand
ing volumes of investigation and a still greater volume of discussion, no man who knows anything of the matter is satisfied with our present knowledge of even the best-known and economically most important of our fishes such as the herring, the cod, the plaice and the salmon.
Take the case of our common fresh-water eel as an example of how little we know and at the same time of how much has been discovered. All the eels of our streams and lakes of N.-W. Europe live and feed and grow under our eyes without reproducing their kind-no spawning eel has ever been seen. After living for years in immaturity, at last near the end of their lives the large male and female yellow eels undergo a change in appearance and in nature. They acquire a silvery color and their eyes enlarge, and in this bridal attire they commence the long journey which ends in maturity, reproduction and death. From all the fresh waters they migrate in the autumn to the coast, from the inshore seas to the open ocean and still westward and south to the mid-Atlantic and we know not how much further-for the exact locality and manner of spawning has still to be discovered. The youngest known stages of the Leptocephalus, the larval stage of eels, have been found by the Dane, Dr. Johannes Schmidt, to the west of the Azores where the water is over 2,000 fathoms in depth. These were about one third of an inch in length and were probably not long hatched. I can not now refer to all the able investigators-Grassi, Hjort and others who have discovered and traced the stages of growth of the Leptocephalus and its metamorphosis into the "elvers" or young eels which are carried by the North Atlantic drift back to the coasts of Europe and ascend our rivers in spring in countless myriads but no man has been more indefatigable and successful in the quest than Dr. Schmidt, who in the various expeditions of the Danish Investigation Steamer Thor from 1904 onwards found successively younger and younger stages, and who is during the present summer engaged in a traverse of the Atlantic to the West Indies in the hope of
finding the missing link in the chain, the actual spawning fresh-water eel in the intermediate waters somewhere above the abysses of the open ocean.
Again, take the case of an interesting oceanographic observation which, if established, may be found to explain the variations in time and amount of important fisheries. Otto Pettersson in 1910 discovered by his observations in the Gullmar Fjord the presence of periodic submarine waves of deeper salter water in the Kattegat and the fjords of the west coast of Sweden, which draw in with them from the Jutland banks vast shoals of the herrings which congregate there in autumn. The deeper layer consists of "bankwater" of salinity 32 to 34 per thousand, and as this rolls in along the bottom as a series of huge undulations it forces out the overlying fresher water, and so the herrings living in the bankwater outside are sucked into the Kattegat and neighboring fjords and give rise to important local fisheries. Pettersson connects the crests of the submarine waves with the phases of the moon. Two great waves of salter water which reached up to the surface took place in November, 1910, one near the time of full moon and the other about new moon, and the latter was at the time when the shoals of herring appeared inshore and provided a profitable fishery. The coincidence of the oceanic phenomena with the lunar phases is not, however, very exact, and doubts have been expressed as to the connection; but if established, and even if found to be due not to the moon but to prevalent winds or the influence of ocean currents, this would be a case of the migration of fishes depending upon mechanical causes, while in other cases it is known that migrations are due to spawning needs or for the purpose of feeding, as in the case of the cod and the herring in the west and north of Norway and in the Barents Sea.
WILLIAM A. HERDMAN
UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL
JOHN SAHLBERG JOHN REINHOLD SAHLBERG passed away on the eighth of May, 1920, in Helsingfors, Fin
land, seventy-five years of age, having been born in Helsingfors, June, 1845.
Descriptive entomology has lost one of its prominent men; entomological societies-especially the famous Societas pro Fauna and Flora Fennica-an enthusiastic member and officer; the University of Helsingfors a learned teacher, who knew how to guide his pupils to the very source of biological knowledge-nature herself.
John Sahlberg was an unwearied and highly experienced collector, famous all over Europe, who up to his old age, undertook extensive and strenuous excursions throughout all parts of his native country. He also collected in many other countries of the old world, traveling through the northern parts of Scandinavia and Siberia, and staying in the Caucasus, Turkestan, Greece and Italy. Three times during the years 1895 and 1904 he visited Asia Minor, Palestine and Egypt. Although thoroughly familiar with all branches of entomology, it was the Cicadaria and the Coleoptera which attracted his especial attention, and to these groups he devoted much study.
Among the many publications of John Sahlberg the following may be mentioned: 1871: Öfversigt of Finlands och den Skandi
naviska halföns Cicadariæ. 1873-89: Enumeratio Coleopterorum Fenniæ. 1878-80: Bidrag till Nordvestra Sibiriens Insekt Fauna.
1900: Catalogus Coleopterorum Fenniæ Geographicus.
1912-13: Coleoptera Mediterranea Orientalia. He has left his entomological collections, which are large and of rare systematic and faunistic value, to the Zoological Museum of Helsingfors.
John Sahlberg belonged to an old Finnish family which for generations has been connected with the learned institutions of their native land. His grandfather (Carl Reinhold S.) was professor in natural history, first at the Abo Academy of Science, later at the University of Helsingfors. After extensive travels over all parts of the world, his father (Reinhold Ferdinand S.) was for a period teacher in zoology at the University of Helsingfors.
John Sahlberg himself was only twenty-six years old when he was appointed teacher in zoology at the University of Helsingfors. At the same institution he was professor extraordinarius in entomology from 1883 to 1918.
John Sahlberg's son is Dr. Uunio Saalas, Helsingfors (now Helsinki), an entomologist of very high standing and of international reputation.
John Sahlberg was a man of firm character and deeply interested in Christian movements and associations, especially the Y. M. C. A. and a Christian association of Finnish University students. He also was a very enthusiastic spokesman for prohibition, especially advocating it among young men. He has published and lectured on prohibition and Christian subjects.
A. G. BöVING
THE PUBLICATION OF SCIENTIFIC BOOKS IN FRANCE
THE Paris correspondent of the Journal of the American Medical Association writes:
The paper shortage and publishing difficulties still arouse a lively interest. M. Ducrot, in an informative article in the Revue Scientifique on the subject of scientific publishing in France, showed that if there was a crisis in the publication of literary works, this was particularly acute in the case of works on pure science. In fact, the elements of bookmaking have increased considerably in cost as compared to prices before the war: compositors and pressmen are paid from three to four times as much as in 1914, the price of paper is five times as great, and these factors contribute to make the cost of a book from three to four times as much as before the war. Now, the income of the intellectual classes, the only purchasers of theoretic works, has barely doubled, while the budgets of public institutions, libraries, laboratories, etc., have been greatly reduced. A book, even one that constitutes a veritable working tool, is not a prime necessity. It should not, therefore, exceed a certain price, above which it will not sell, and at the present moment, the maximum has apparently been reached.
This condition, which constitutes a veritable danger to the advance of science, is not peculiar to France. A statistical study by M. Fernand Roches
in the Correspondant discloses the progressive decrease of the number of publications in the principal countries since 1914. Exclusive of periodicals and musical works, the figures show that a number of books published in 1918, as compared to 1917, decreased in France from 5,054 to 4,484; in Great Britain from 8,131 to 7,716; in Italy from 8,349 to 5,902; in the United States from 10,060 to 9,237, and in Germany from 14,910 to 14,743. The production in 1919 is not yet known, but it was probably less than in 1918.
It is interesting to note that the decrease in Italy totaled 2,447 books; in the United States 823; in France 570, and in England 415; but Ģermany, defeated and disorganized, showed a decrease of only 167 works.
So far as French medical books are concerned, statistics recently published in the Bibliographie de la France indicate that the number of such works, which had suffered a great decrease before the war (from 1,230 in 1910 to 721 in 1914), had again greatly declined in 1915, namely, to 202 works. A tendency to improvement was noted in 1916, and again in 1917, when 292 books appeared. However, in 1918, a new decline set in which it was believed would be accentuated in 1919, but nothing of the sort occurred and in that year 309 new books appeared.
CHEMICAL RESEARCH IN LONDON
A COMMITTEE presided over by Professor J. F. Thorpe, of the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, has made a report recommending the creation of an All-India Chemical Service, the establishment of a central research institute at Dehra Dun, and of a similar laboratory in each province near the chief seat of industry. The broad object is to assist by scientific investigation in overcoming the difficulties and deficiencies in Indian industrial organization pointed out by the Holland Commission.
The summary in the London Times states that while it is the intention of Professor Thorpe and his colleagues that the research institutes should be staffed mainly by Indians, it is manifest that the universities and institutes of the country do not provide adequate training for the research work which will fall to the service. The qualifications laid down are an honor degree in the first and second class or its equivalent; a suitable training in