Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Bory de Saint-Vincent, Baron Jean Baptiste
Geneviève Marcellin (France 1778-1846)
natural history, exploration
Bory de Saint-Vincent's almost too colorful life story has sometimes
overshadowed his reputation as one of the most thoughtful and productive
naturalists of the early nineteenth century. A free spending extrovert
who also dabbled in literary ventures, his career was complicated by involvement
in a near-mutiny at sea, various political intrigues, and financial debts–to
the extent that he spent years at a time avoiding the authorities, or
actually being incarcerated. Throughout it all, however, he managed to
keep up a career as a natural history collector. Bory was the first important
island biogeographer, the result of his military career and many travels
and his interest in the ideas of Buffon and Lamarck on organic change.
He was one of the first to study the formation of coral reefs and the
differences between the faunas of oceanic islands and continental areas,
and to attempt a biogeographical classification of the oceans. Bory is
also remembered for his early efforts to understand the origins and biogeography
of the races of humankind, the spectacular herbarium he accumulated (which
eventually was donated to the nation), his editorial and other contributions
to the Dictionnaire Classique d'Histoire Naturelle, his leadership
of collecting expeditions to Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt, the beautiful
maps he made of every place he visited, and the pleasure he took in living
out the life he had chosen for himself.
--born in Agen, southwest France, on 6 July 1778.
--1799: conscripted into the French Army
--1801: naturalist on the Pacific expedition led by Nicolas Baudin; leaves
ship at Mauritius
--1801-02: explores and collects on Madeira, Teneriffe, Reunion, Mauritius
and St. Helena
--1802: returns to France; rejoins the arleamy, working as a cartographer
--1803: publishes his Essais
sur les Iles Fortunées et l'Antique Atlantide in 2 volumes
--1804: publishes his Voyage
dans les Quatre Principales Îles des Mers d'Afrique in 3
--1805-1808: serves in Germany, including the German-French war of 1806-1807
--1808-1814: serves in Spain
--1816-1820: banished from France after Napoleon's defeat; lives mostly
in hiding in The Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany and Bohemia, collecting
plants and rocks
--1820-1823: pardoned, then returns to Paris and works as a botanist
--1821: publishes his Voyage
Souterrain, ou Description du Plateau de Saint-Pierre de Maestricht et
de ses Vastes Cryptes, with L. Dufour
--1822-1831: edits and contributes many entries on algae to the seventeen
volume Classic Dictionary of Natural History
--1825-1828: imprisoned for debt; continues work on algae in prison
--1827: publishes his L'Homme
(Homo): Essai Zoologique sur le Genre Humain in 2 volumes
--1829: leads scientific expedition to Greece
--1834: elected to the Académie des Sciences
--1836-1838: publishes his Relation
du Voyage de la Commission Scientifique de Morée...
in 2 volumes
--1840-1842: leads scientific expedition to Algeria
--dies in Paris, on 22 December 1846.
--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 2 (1970).
--Taxonomic Literature Suppl. II (1993).
--A to Z of Marine Scientists (2003).
--Sciences et Techniques en Perspective, Vol. 35 (1996): 85-91.
Copyright 2007 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.
Return to Home/Alphabetical Listing by Name
Return to Listing by Country
Return to Listing by Discipline