Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/631

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THE MARINE BIOLOGICAL LABORATORY.

along the coast for sharks and strange fish; to-morrow it will take a party to Naushon for worms and sea-cucumbers. So it goes, dayafter day, constantly bringing material for the workers in the laboratory. At night another kind of collecting is tried. Many of the smaller animals and the larvae of the larger kinds come to the surface of the sea when the sky is dark and the water calm. Then the naturalist, with a net of gauze, skims the surface of the sea, and catches the life found there. The results of such surfaceskimming are wonderful, and no one who has never seen the operation would begin to imagine the richness of the catch. And then, how quickly it dies! At night there are millions of animals in the dishes into which the tow is poured; in the morning all are dead. So the skimmings must be studied soon after they are taken, if one wishes to utilize them.

The instruction given at the laboratory is largely personal. Each student is carefully watched by the instructors, and naturally the beginners receive more attention than those in the upper laboratory. They also have their daily lectures upon the general principles of zoology and botany. There are frequently other laboratory lectures upon subjects of more general scientific interest. These are given in the evening by the laboratory staff or by visiting naturalists, and no lecture course in the country can boast of such subjects treated by such masters. Naturally, they are appreciated by all, and the little lecture-room is always crowded when they occur. The lectures for 1890 have been issued in book-form, and the volume has been highly praised by the scientific press of the world.

To the student of to-day books are almost as important as specimens. He needs them to show him not only what has already been found out, so that he need not waste his time in duplicating the labors of some foreign naturalist, but also to show him the structure or development in allied forms, so that with the larger array of facts he can have a basis for interpretation of the meaning of his own discoveries. So the laboratory has gathered together a small library. Most of the publishing naturalists of America have given extra copies of their papers, and a generous friend has supplied the means for the purchase of complete sets of several of the most important European periodicals.

Although started in Boston, the Marine Biological Laboratory is a national rather than a local institution. A student from California is as warmly welcomed as one from the immediate neighborhood. In its four years students have come from twentytwo States, from Canada and Japan. Philadelphia has sent more students than Boston; while Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, California, and Kansas have been represented. The fees charged are, for the lower laboratory, thirty dollars; for the upper, fifty dol-