Seafaring Scientist: Alfred Goldsborough Mayor, Pioneer in Marine Biology

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Overview

Infused with a hearty sense of adventure and zeal for discovery, Seafaring Scientist recounts the achievements of a giant in the field of marine biology. Alfred Goldsborough Mayor (1868–1922), a Harvard-trained marine biologist and close associate of Alexander Agassiz, founded and directed on behalf of the Carnegie Institution the first tropical marine biological laboratory in the Western Hemisphere. Located on Loggerhead Key in the Gulf of Mexico, the Tortugas Laboratory under Mayor’s leadership attracted some of America’s most brilliant scientists. Mayor himself achieved international prominence in the field of biology for his authoritative work on jellyfishes and coral reefs.

Lester D. Stephens and Dale R. Calder fill the gaps in the historical record about Mayor with this first book-length account of his life and work. They detail Mayor’s passion for biology, association with Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, and rise to international prominence in the scientific community. Few field naturalists could claim to have visited as many truly exotic locales as Mayor, who traveled throughout the South Pacific and indeed around the world before returning to the United States to establish a research station at Dry Tortugas in 1904.

Illustrated with twenty-four black-and-white photographs as well as four diagrams and eight color illustrations drawn by Mayor, who was also a gifted artist, Seafaring Scientist describes Mayor’s determination to develop the Tortugas Laboratory despite daunting operational problems related to the remoteness of the site and its vulnerability to hurricanes. Stephens and Calder enumerate the contributions made by Mayor and other investigators at the outpost and discuss Mayor’s monumental three-volume opus, Medusae of the World.

Written to appeal to the armchair explorer as well as the professional researcher, Seafaring Scientist captures the thrills of scientific quest and discovery as well as the trials of seeking support and recognition that defined the life of this extraordinary marine biologist.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570036415
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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