Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/477

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A MARINE BIOLOGICAL OBSERVATORY.

shelter of the eaves and barn. The robin builds within hand-reach of the doorsill, and the wren and martin, leaving their old homes in the forest to some woodpecker more lazy than his fellows, scold and quarrel for the possession of any hole or box, so long as it is near the dwelling place of man. Last, but by no means the least, this subtle influence reaches across a waste of tossing tree tops, and from the yet unknown prairie land come birds to dwell within his fields and gladden his heart with their sweet evening songs.

 

A MARINE BIOLOGICAL OBSERVATORY[1]
By C. O. WHITMAN,

HEAD PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO.

IT is now twenty years since the memorable attempt to found a seaside laboratory on Penikese. Prof. Louis Agassiz lived long enough to demonstrate the impracticability of maintaining a summer school in such an inaccessible place, but unfortunately not long enough to repeat the experiment under more favorable conditions. The idea of transplanting the laboratory to the more convenient locality of Woods Holl, proposed by Alexander Agassiz, was abandoned on account of the little interest shown by the colleges which were appealed to for support. Although the continuance of this school was cut short by the untimely death of its master, the interest it awakened lived on and has brought forth a fairly rich crop of seaside laboratories.

About ten years after the abandonment of the Penikese School, Prof. Baird established, under the auspices of the United States Fish Commission, a marine laboratory at Woods Holl, and succeeded in getting a number of colleges interested in its support. For various reasons—beyond the control of Prof. Baird—the laboratory failed to attract the younger morphologists of the country. There was no lack of facilities, for these were superior to any that had ever before been offered in this country; and there was little lack of means, with the United States Government behind it, supplying money and a fleet of vessels such as no other station in the world has ever had at its command. Of late years, since the station passed into the hands of Colonel Marshall McDonald, its facilities for work have been increased, and a much larger number of morphologists take advantage of them every summer. The main functions of the station, however, continue, and must ever continue, to be devoted to the work of a great fish commission. No other like commission in the world has been able to


  1. Read before the American Society of Naturalists, December 28, 1892.