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the Belgian national conference, and of the International Association of Agricultural Missions of 1920; a memorandum presented to the Peace Conference on World Agricultural Principles by President K. L. Butterfield, of the Massachusetts Agricultural College; a tribute to the late David Lubin; Some Impressions of French Agriculture by Captain E. N. Wentworth, assistant director of the college of agriculture, American E. F. University; the State Society of Agricultural Teaching in France, by G. Wery, director of the National Institute of Agronomy; several shorter articles relative to the reconstruction of French agriculture; and other topics.
UNIVERSITY AND EDUCATIONAL
OFFERS of support and financial assistance towards the establishment of an agricultural college of university rank in the West Indies have been received from Trinidad, Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and the Leeward Islands, while Bermuda, although not in the West Indies, has offered an annual grant. On the recommendation of the West Indian Agricultural College Committee, Lord Milner has decided that the promises and prospects of support are sufficient to justify him in proceeding with the necessary arrangements for the establishment of the college. It will be situated in Trinidad, and plans for the buildings will shortly be prepared.
PART of the $5,000,000 expected to be realized from a campaign for McGill University, Montreal, will be devoted to a building to house the departments of pathology, medical jurisprudence, hygiene and psychiatry. It is estimated that such a building would cost at least $460,000, and its maintenance would require an endowment of $150,000.
Ar the college of engineering of the University of Wisconsin, A. A. Neff, graduate of the University of Nebraska, has been appointed associate professor of machine designing, and A. H. Anderson, of the Armour Institute of Technology, Chicago, associate professor of steam and gas engineering.
DR. B. J. SPENCE, professor of physics at the University of North Dakota, has resigned to accept a position in the department of physics of Northwestern University.
J. H. GOURLEY, professor of horticulture in the New Hampshire College, has become head of the horticultural department of the University of West Virginia.
DISCUSSION AND CORRESPONDENCE AN UNFAVORABLE SPAWNING SEASON FOR MULLET
THE mullet, Mugil cephalus Linnæus, known as ama-ama in the native language, is one of the most extensively used food fishes of the Hawaiian Islands. The custom of taking very young mullet from the sea and stocking ponds with them has been practised for a long time. These ponds, usually walled-off arms of bays, are frequently of several acres in area and from them are taken annually thousands of mullet which have developed to marketable size within these enclosures.
Although a well-known fish, aside from the fact that the fishermen have learned to know the approximate time of the year when the fry are abundant in the sea, no definite information is at hand relative to the spawning season of the mullet or the conditions favorable to this process or to its later growth and development in these waters.
With a view of undertaking artificial propagation of the mullet the Board of Fish and Game Commissioners of the Territory delegated Mr. H. L. Kelley, executive officer, assisted by Mr. Irwin H. Wilson, fish culturist, to establish a small fish hatchery at Kalahuipuaa, Hawaii, which was completed early in January of the present year. From observations during previous years it was believed that the mullet spawned during January. In the pond on which the hatchery was located it was estimated that there were approximately 1,000 mature females approaching the period of spawning and nearly as many mature males. Careful observations were kept upon the condition of the mullet throughout January and February but no indications of spawning were to be seen. Attempts were made to force the
roe and milt from the apparently ripe individuals. This was accomplished on two occasions but all efforts to fertilize the eggs thus obtained were futile.
Early in March the fish began to take on the appearance of being spawned out, but not having observed spawn or young fish in the pond up to this time, anatomical examinations were made of numerous mullet, both males and fo males being dissected.
In case of many of the females, the ovaries although greatly reduced were not spawned out but contained ova which evidently at one time were mature but now were in a state of semidissolution.
In case of the males, many of them carried gonads shriveled and reduced in size but having no appearance of organs after spawning. The surface of the testes, in many instances, were thickly covered with rounded nodules from 2-5 mm. in diameter. In sectioning portions of the organs thus affected masses of cells of a greenish-yellow tint, by transmitted light, were seen to occupy the nodules and penetrate deeply into the medullary substance of the gland. These masses, of definite outline, have the appearance of broken down tissue cells of the spermary but maintain their characteristic color under the action of such stains as iron hæmatoxylin and methylen blue. Healthy gonads free from the external nodules are also free from the internal masses of cells. Inasmuch as a considerable number of individuals examined were affected in the manner described above we are led to believe that the noticeable scarcity of young mullet this season is a result of a pathogenic condition of the reproductive organs of mature individuals which inhibited spawning. The cause of this condition has not yet been determined.
Failure of the mullet to spawn in the usual prolific manner seems general throughout the Hawaiian Islands this season. The testimony of fishermen from widely separated districts is that there are comparatively few young mullet to be taken this year. One fisherman on Oahu reports that he has been able to take less than 2,000 fry for his ponds whereas in previous years he has taken as many as 900,000 from
the same waters during a similar period. Another fisherman stated that he had taken about 6,000 as contrasted with 250,000 last year. A report from Kauai states that no mullet fry are observed in waters which in normal years are teeming with them.
From personal observations of those closely identified with the work of the Fish and Game Commission and from information received from reliable sources it would appear that the season just passed has been an unfavorable one for the spawning of mullet in these waters. Further attempts will be made by the Board of Fish and Game Commissioners to carry on artificial propagation and culture of this important food fish.
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII,
C. H. EDMONDSON
REMARK ON FAMILY NAMES
THE rules drawn up by Dr. Oberholzer1 for the formation of family and subfamily names, seem to be very good in most respects, but in regard to that relating to family names founded upon almost identical names of genera, I must record my inability to concur. Under Rule 13, the author states that of two family or subfamily names having "exactly the same spelling," the latter is to be distinguished from the earlier by the prefix "Pro," and subsequently gives as an example the family names derived from Pica and Picus, proposing for one of them the name Propicidæ. According to all accepted rules for the formation of family names, this would indicate that there is a genus Propica or Propicus, which of course is untrue.
It would be much better in such a case as this to modify the generic root names in a slightly different way to form the family names, and that founded upon Pica might be Picidæ, using Picusida for that having Picus as the type. In forming the family name from that of the genus custom has differed in some instances; for example, in the Coleoptera, the generic word Cis has given rise to the family name Cioida in the case of some authors and
1 SCIENCE, August 13.
Cisida with others. Personally, I would much prefer the latter as the permanent form for the word.
THOS. L. CASEY
RESEARCH PROBLEMS 'ASSIGNED TO" UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS AND THEIR STUDENTS
A PAPER on North American Forest Research has recently been issued, giving a résumé of the "Investigative Projects in Forestry and Allied Subjects Conducted by National, State and Provincial Governments, Schools of Forestry, Scientific Schools and Private Interests in Canada, Newfoundland and the United States for 1919-20."
More than five hundred projects are enumerated, nearly half of them under investigation by persons in departments of the United States government. Many of the remainder are concerned with the activities of various state agencies and institutions, while a number represent research undertaken by professors and their students in various colleges and universities.
The compilers of this list have very carefully indicated in connection with each project, by whom it is being investigated, nearly always stating that it is "assigned to " some individual or group of persons. For example, under certain universities and colleges, we find numerous projects "assigned to" various members of their faculties and in certain cases secondarily to their students.
I think we may legitimately inquire by whom these problems have been assigned to the persons named. Certainly not by the National Research Council, not by the Society of American Foresters, not by our colleagues, and usually not by any of the governing boards of the universities and colleges.
Such wording, like the repeated use of "control" and "direction," conveys the imputation that men of science do not select and elaborate their own lines of research, and
1 Compiled by the Committee on American Forest Research, Society of American Foresters, and published as Vol. 1, Pt. 4, of the Bulletin of the National Research Council, August, 1920.
it is very unfortunate that it should appear in such a journal as the Bulletin of the National Research Council. Let us hope that the council does not stand sponsor for it, for it does not seem likely that it will aid in attaining the closer cooperation which independent workers hope to see as a result of the operations of the Research Council. It is better to believe that the printer or the proofreader has inserted this stereotyped phrase as it appears quite regularly, and no doubt properly so, in connection with many of the bureaus and governmental agencies. In view of the increasing extension of the bureaucratic spirit into scientific work, perhaps all research must be assigned by some one other than he who performs it, and possibly problems should not be outlined by those who investigate them. Until such comes to pass, however, it seems unjustifiable that research in forestry or in any other subject should be thrust into the lime-light with such carelessly worded captions attached.
C. T. BRUES
THE LAWS OF HYBRIDIZING DISCOVERED BY RICHARD DIENER THE above is the title of a booklet of some sixteen pages, dated (with a rubber stamp) as issued July 1, 1920, and coming, appropriately, from California, the home of plant wizardry. The discoverer states that it has taken thousands of crosses and fifteen years of time to perfect the laws which he is now giving to mankind-for a consideration. Their presentation is a delightful example of simplicity; the reader is not troubled with tiresome descriptions of methods or measures taken to check the results; the pages are not rendered unsightly by arrays of tables, nor is the intellect taxed by incomprehensible statistics, as is so often the case in present-day treatises on this subject. On the contrary the author has not needed all of his sixteen pages for the exposition; besides the title page he is able to spare one for a full-page portrait of himself, five pages are given to photographs of results of his labors, while a double-page diagram sets forth his laws so clearly that
one feels the text might really have been dispensed with entirely.
Nevertheless there are six and one half pages of text, three of which, however, are occupied by a philosophical discussion of "What plant life is," the nature of "Sports," and "Animal life in relation to plant life." The relation of these introductory remarks to the laws that follow is not clear; they nevertheless contain contributions to the subject of evolution which are novel, and their inclusion was presumably considered justified on their own merits. We learn first that plant life is a chemical process for catching the sun's rays and depositing them on the earth in the form of carbon. As with mortal souls, however, the abode of carbon on the earth is but transitory; some day fire is set to it," whereupon it disappears from the earth as gas and only ashes remain.
Early plants floated in moisture in a sexless state, but they finally succeed in getting roots into the soil, climbed out of the marshes and developed sex, and so rose to the stage of seed production. Until they got their toes into terra firma evolution was slow, but that advantage once gained they "developed fasterfrom grasses to shrubs, from shrubs to bushes and from bushes to trees!" Animals also play an important rôle in the cosmos, for we are told:
If it were not for the existence of animal life the leaves, bark and general residue of vegetation would, in a period of twenty-five years or thereabouts, cover the ground to such a height that no new vegetation could spring up and plant life would annihilate itself, there being no decay.
About three and one half pages are left for the "laws," which are illustrated by diagrams relating to relative size of flower or fruit or other character of the plants to be crossed. There are three possibilities: (1) The male (pollen) parent may be smaller than the female (ovule) parent, (2) they may be of the same size, or (3) the male parent may be the larger of the two. The first is the "declining way" of breeding, for the offspring from such crosses will be smaller even than the male parent. The second is the "enlarging way,"
for when the parents are of the same size the offspring will be twice as large as their parents. Not all of them will reach this maximum size, we learn to our disappointment, but on the average only 12 in 100. This may be brought up to 40 per cent., nevertheless, in later generations. Finally, the third way is less important, for under these conditions the offspring are said to exceed the male parent only slightly in size.
Fortunately the benefits of these laws are not limited to plants but may be applied in animal breeding as well, as "exemplified by chickens." Here the process is admittedly complicated by the fact of "the sexes being in different individuals," necessitating a backcross of the progeny with their male parent, but the result is well worth the extra trouble, for "of the offspring from this second fertilization about one third are double the size of the original parents." This may be a desirable economic result so far, but one shudders to think what may happen if the method should be taken up by unthinking persons and pushed to the limits of geometric progression. The author truly says that "few people at the present time realize the immensity of this discovery to mankind." He himself modestly admits that it is "equal to the discovery of electricity, if not greater." And any one may take advantage of it by purchasing the booklet for the sum of five dollars-as indicated by another rubber stamp.
A book of this character would scarcely be deserving of so much attention if it were not for the fact that it is likely to be taken seriously by a great many people. There is just enough of fact in some of the statements to make the conclusions seem plausible to one not familiar with genetic interpretations. For example, it is stated that in attempting to derive new colors, a white flower should be used as the pollen parent. Every geneticist knows that white flowers may carry a great variety of genes for color which can find expression only when a cross is made which brings in an activator for them. Similarly, some of the facts stated in relation to size inheritance may be true in the instances
ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FREEZING POINT LOWERING, A, AND SPECIFIC ELECTRICAL CONDUCTIVITY, K, OF PLANT TISSUE FLUIDS
THE problem of the contribution of nonelectrolytes, of undissociated molecules of electrolytes, and of dissociated ions of electrolytes to the depression of the freezing point, A, in terms of which osmotic concentration is usually measured, is one of considerable biological importance. We desire to know, for example, whether an observed difference in the osmotic concentration of the tissue fluids of a species growing in two different habitats is due primarily to differences in the quantities of electrolytes absorbed from the medium or to differences in the quantities of organic substances elaborated. The same question naturally arises when one is comparing the osmotic concentration of the tissue fluids of different species in the same habitat.
In the mixed solutions with which the biologist has to deal the problem presents serious difficulties. In certain cases some progress may be made by determining the correlation between the freezing point depression, A, and the specific electrical conductivity, K.
As a specific illustration we may take the relationship between osmotic concentration and electrical conductivity in a series of plant species growing in the non-halophytic habitats of the north shore of Long Island.1
In a series of 19 species of trees, 36 species of shrubs, and 162 species of herbs both A and
1 Protocols of data and full details are given in a paper in press in the Journal of Physical Chemistry.
Our problem is to determine whether higher values of K are associated with higher values of A, or whether within each of these growth forms2 these two constants of the solution are essentially independent.
Determining the correlation coefficients by the usual product moment method we have the following measures of relationship between the magnitudes of K and A in the various series.
For trees, N 19, r= =+0.127.152
shrubs, N=55, r=+0.022 ± .091 For herbs, N=162, r= =+0.150.052 For ligneous plants the correlations between A and K are low and statistically insignificant in comparison with their probable errors. The coefficient for shrubs is actually negative in sign. That for trees and shrubs together is sensibly zero. The coefficient for herbaceous plants is also low but may indicate a slight relationship between the two constants, higher values of ▲ being associated with higher values of K and vice versa.
These results show that, in the vegetation of the glacial moraines of Long Island at least, there is practically no relationship between the concentration of ionized electro
2 It is necessary to separate the growth forms, since, as shown in detail elsewhere (Harris, Gortner and Lawrence, loc. cit.), the growth forms are highly differentiated with respect to both A and K. The actual means are: