Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Candolle, Augustin-Pyramus de (Switzerland-France 1778-1841)
botany, phytogeography

As a teenager Candolle moved to Paris to pursue studies in medicine and natural history. His talent was immediately apparent, and he soon fell in with the greatest names of the day, Lamarck and Cuvier. They helped inspire him onto the road of botanical research, and in this field he quickly achieved the first rank among all the workers of his time. Candolle eventually worked in almost all areas of botany, but he was an especially influential systematist (he even coined the term "taxonomy" himself) who recognized the importance of linking form (anatomy and morphology) to function. He also contributed many works on agronomy, biometry, phytochemistry, pharmacology, and physiology, along the way working on both living and fossil forms. His most famous work, the Prodromus, serially monographed in laborious detail a large number of plant families and was continued by his son Alphonse. Last but not least, Candolle was one of the first important plant geographers. He is especially known for his efforts to associate plant distribution characteristics with soil conditions; he additionally was one of the first to attempt to quantify diversity, to fruitfully distinguish the concepts of habitat and station from one another, and to consider questions of scale in phytogeographic inquiry. Candolle was an advocate of "natural" means of classification, but believed that species were immutable. He was also an important botanical gardens administrator and an influential teacher, and managed to find the time to serve in a variety of public service positions connected with city government and several civic and professional organizations.

Life Chronology

--born in the Republic of Geneva (now Switzerland), on 4 February 1778.
--1794-1796: attends the Collège de Calvin, Geneva, and makes botanical collections in the surrounding area
--1796: moves to Paris to study medicine and natural history
--1798: publishes his first botanical paper, on Reticularia rosea
--1799-1803: publishes his Plantarum historia succulentarum, in 28 sections
--1800: made an honorary professor by the Academy of Geneva
--1804: awarded the M.D. by the medical faculty, University of Paris
--1806-1812: involved in a government survey of French botanical and agricultural resources
--1808-1810: professor of botany at the École de Médécine at the University of Montpellier
--1810-1816: chair of botany in the faculty of sciences, University of Montpellier
--1813: publishes his Théorie Élémentaire de la Botanique, in which the word "taxonomy" is coined
--1816: moves back to Geneva
--1817: publishes his "Mémoire sur la Géographie des Plantes de France, Considerée dans Ses Rapports avec la Hauteur Absolue" in the Mémoires de Physique et de Chimie de la Société d'Arcueil
--1817-1821: publishes his Regni vegetabilis systema naturale, in two volumes
--1817-1834: director of the botanical garden, Geneva
--1817-1835: professor of natural history at the Academy of Geneva
--1820: publishes his (Essai Élémentaire de) Géographie Botanique
--1822: made a foreign member of the Royal Society of London
--1824-1839: issues the first seven volumes of his Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis
--1828: elected a foreign associate of the French Academy of Sciences
--1831-1832: serves as rector at the Academy
--1835: retires from the Academy of Geneva
--dies at Geneva, on 9 September 1841.

For Additional Information, See:

--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 3 (1971).
--Scientific Monthly, Vol. 19 (1924): 53-62.
--Taxonomic Literature, Supplement III (1995).
--History of Botany (1530-1860) (1890): 126-139.
--Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, Vol. 20 (1842): 253-256.
--American Journal of Science, Vol. 42 (1842): 217-226.

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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