Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Scholander, Per Fredrik (Thorkelsson) (Norway- United States 1905-1980)
physiological ecology

Physiologist Scholander became well known for his field and experimental studies on both animals and plants, especially those living in extreme ecological conditions. I cannot do better to describe his work here than to quote directly from the online publication 1986, University of California: In Memoriam:

"A list of his achievements in animal and plant physiology is long. He anticipated and discovered that hemoglobin could facilitate the diffusion of oxygen and suggested that myoglobin may function in a similar capacity in muscles. He largely explained how the counter flow of arterial and venous blood in the rete mirabile of the swim bladder of some deep sea fishes could maintain a large difference in oxygen and nitrogen with respect to their partial pressures in sea water. He also found one of the clues to attaining the high oxygen pressure in the swim bladder. By direct measurement, he confirmed the cohesion theory of transpiration in tall trees, mangroves and desert shrubs. He came to understand the turgor pressure in plant cells must be attributed to pressure exerted by the solutes in the cytosol rather than to intracellular water, the orthodox view. This led to further challenge of the orthodox view of osmosis and osmotic pressure. He enlightened us on such varied subjects as: the role of insulation and metabolism in polar birds, mammals and man exposed to cold; freezing survival in polar insects and freezing avoidance in polar fish; paleoatmospheres preserved in gas bubbles entrapped in glacial ice; the cardiovascular adjustments during diving in marine mammals; and how porpoises ride the bow waves of ships."

Life Chronology

--born in Örebro, Sweden, on 29 November 1905.
--Scholander's parents divorce; PFS moves to Norway and attends local schools
--1930, 1931, 1932: botany expeditions to Greenland and Spitsbergen
--1932: M.D., University of Oslo
--1934: Ph.D., University of Oslo
--1939-1943: receives a Rockefeller Foundation grant to do research at Swarthmore College
--1943-1946: serves in the U. S. Army Air Force
--1945: becomes a United States citizen
--1947: publishes "Analyzer for Accurate Estimation of Respiratory Gases in One-half Cubic Centimeter Samples" in the Journal of Biological Chemistry
--1949-1951: research fellow, Harvard University
--1950: publishes "Adaptation to Cold in Arctic and Tropical Mammals and Birds in Relation to Body Temperature, Insulation, and Basal Metabolism Rate" and "Heat Regulation in Some Arctic and Tropical Mammals and Birds" in Biological Bulletin
--1952-1955: physiologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
--1958: made professor of physiology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California
--1961: admitted to the National Academy of Sciences
--1963-1972: establishes and is made director of the Physiological Research Laboratory at Scripps
--1964: publishes "Hydrostatic Pressure and Osmotic Potential in Leaves of Mangroves and Some Other Plants" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
--1965: publishes "Sap Pressure in Vascular Plants" in Science
--1972: made research associate at the University of Washington
--1979: receives the Fridtjof Nansen Prize from Norway
--dies at La Jolla, California, on 13 June 1980.

For Additional Information, See:

--Biographical Memoirs, National Academy of Sciences (U.S.A.), Vol. 56 (1987).
--American National Biography, Vol. 19 (1999).
--Enjoying a Life in Science: The Autobiography of P. F. Scholander (1990).
--University of California: In Memoriam, 1986. [website]

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

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