Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Scharff, Robert F(rancis) (England-Ireland 1858-1934)
zoogeography, Irish natural history

Despite his being one of the more prominent figures in zoogeography around the beginning of the twentieth century, Scharff largely has been forgotten (note the dearth of information below--I've not pulled out all the stops, but none of the usual sources, at least, have been able to provide any leads). It is known, however, that Scharff was quite active in both the Irish and international natural history scenes, regularly involving himself in meetings and other professional activities: a Times obituary from 19 September 1934, for example, lists him as a past secretary of the Royal Zoological Society of Ireland, and a three-term vice-president of the Royal Irish Academy. His interests seem to have been broadly zoological, with an emphasis on birds and mammals (both of Ireland, and elsewhere). He is most remembered these days as an aggressive advocate of land bridge-based explanations for large-scale distribution patterns, but it is also interesting to note that he was a progressive to the extent that he felt that zoogeographical regions were poor bases upon which to build scientific understandings of geographical distribution.

Life Chronology

--born in Leeds, England, in 1858.
--educated both in the British Isles and in Europe: University College London, Heidelberg, Edinburgh, Bordeaux, and the marine laboratories in Naples and St. Andrews
--1890: becomes keeper of the Natural History Museum, Dublin
--1895: awarded the International Congress of Zoology's Emperor Nicholas II prize
--1899: publishes his The History of the European Fauna
--1906: obtains the British Museum's Swiney lectureship in geology
--1907: publishes his European Animals: Their Geological History and Geographical Distribution
--1911: publishes his Distribution and Origin of Life in America
--1921: retires
--dies at Worthing, England, on 13 September 1934.

For Additional Information, See:

--Irish Naturalists' Journal, Vol. 5(6) (1934): 153-155.
--American Naturalist, Vol. 35(410) (1901): 87-116.
--The Auk, Vol. 30(2) (1913): 283-286.
--Torreya, Vol. 12(11) (1912): 269-271.

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

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