Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Semper, Carl Gottfried (Germany 1832-1893)
invertebrate zoology, ecology
Carl Semper's reputation rests largely on his extensive
field studies in the Philippines, and subsequent publications thereon--and,
his groundbreaking book on animal ecology, Animal Life as Affected
by the Natural Conditions of Existence. Semper was trained primarily
in comparative anatomy and physiology, working largely on invertebrates
(especially mollusks), but in his exploration of the Philippines he expanded
his attention to include considerations of ethnology, geography, and ecology.
He persevered through many hardships to eventually bring home an enormous
collection of specimens and artifacts. His great work on animal ecology
was based on a series of lectures he delivered in Boston; it features
both physiological and nascent community ecology approaches to the subject
to explain particulars of distribution, adaptation, and morphology. Semper
was much interested in evolutionary biology as well, and was one of the
early supporters of the theory that annelids were the ancestral forms
--born in Altona, Germany, on 6 July 1832.
--1851-1854: studies engineering at Hannover
--1856: Ph.D. in zoology, University of Würzburg (under Leydig, Gegenbaur
--1858-1865: exploration and collecting activities in the Philippines
and Palau Islands
--1866: hired as Privatdozent at the University of Würzburg
--1868: publishes the first of the five volumes he contributes to the
ten volume Reisen im Archipel der Philippinen series (published
--1869: made ordinary professor at the University of Würzburg
--1872: made director of the zoological institute at the University of
--1873: publishes his Die
Palau-Inseln im Stillen Ocean: Reiseerlebnisse
--1877: lectures at the Lowell Institute in Boston
--1880: publishes his Die Natürlichen Existenzbedingungen der
Thiere (published in English the same year as Animal
Life as Affected by the Natural Conditions of Existence)
--1887: suffers a debilitating stroke and is left a semi-invalid
--dies at Würzburg, Germany, on 29 May 1893.
--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 12 (1975).
Science, Vol.3 (1893): 74.
Vol. 48 (1893): 271-272.
Conchologist, Vol. 2 (1893): 143-144.
Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights
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