The Department of Invertebrate Zoology (IZ) holds a unique collection of more than 400 portraits of influential scientists that have worked on crustaceans (carcinologists) from Aristotle to the present. Accompanying the portraits are biographical files that contain valuable information on their life and works. This collection has been painstakingly gathered by various IZ curators, with help of outside colleagues, over many decades, and holds valuable information for biologists and historians of science. The portraits consist of large format photographs and negatives, as well as line drawings (some original), and many were framed and exhibited on the hall walls of IZ, each with a brief biographical summary. This collection exhibited on the halls of IZ floors on the West Wing of the Natural History building was originally called the “Rogue Gallery”.
The biographical files are stored in acid-free reprint boxes and contain original obituaries or copies of biographies, photographs and slides, and in some cases, news clippings and/or unpublished notes on life aspects of the scientists. Given the size and importance of this collection, all components were scanned and digitized over the last decade with the help of several hard working student interns. In a digitized format, this unique resource is accessible to researchers and interested users around the world, and eventually will be posted online.
With downsizing and renovation of the Natural History building (NHB), the “Gallery” exhibit was removed from the walls and moved to for temporary storage at the Museum Support Center (MSC, Suitland, MD). The portraits were wrapped and packed into storage bins to await their next showing. Fast forward 4 years (and 2 moves), the “Gallery” once again is up and gracing the walls of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at NHB. Drs. Rafael Lemaitre and Stephen Cairns were instrumental in making this happen. Dr. Cairns assisted with selection and placement of the portraits.
A small selection of portraits and corresponding biographies is presented here.
Paul Louis Illg (23 September 1914 – 10 May 1998)
Professor of Zoology, University of Washington. Had an illustrious career in life sciences, and contributed to making his University’s Seattle campus and Friday Harbor Laboratories, one of the leading institutions in the world for studying marine zoology, especially invertebrates. Published prodigiously for more than 50 years on parasitic copepods, particularly those living in ascidians. His research on microscopic ascidicolous copepods greatly extended biological and taxonomic knowledge, and illuminated evolutionary processes in these extremely complex parasitic crustaceans. His work is without equal in the systematics literature.
Frederick “Ted” Merkle Bayer (31 October 1921 – 2 October 2007)
Received his BS from the University of Miami, and MS (1954) and PhD (1958) from George Washington University. Published over 130 papers and books on the taxonomy and natural history of soft corals, describing over 170 new species, 40 genera, and three new families. Species from different groups of animals have been named in his honor, including the hydroid Hydractinia bayeri, described by the Emperor of Japan, Hirohito. A curator at the Smithsonian Institution (1975 until retirement in 1996); emeritus researcher until 2006.
Not a carcinologist, but an outstanding bio-illustrator, he was tasked to create detailed water color sketches of color patterns of live Trapezia, coral reef crabs. These sketches and associated field notes are now part of the Illustration Archives of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology, and have become extremely useful for modern revisionary taxonomic studies of these spectacular and ecologically important reef crabs.
Georges Cuvier (23 August 1769 – 13 May 1832)
French anatomist considered the founder of the sciences of comparative anatomy and paleontology. Worked at the Museum of Natural History, Paris. Was Chancellor of the University of Paris, and served in the cabinet of Louis XVIII. An antievolutionist, he became the most eminent European scientist of his time, and virtually an intellectual dictator in the field of biology. Perfected the animal classification system of Linnaeus by grouping related classes into broader groups he called phyla: Vertebrata, Mollusca, Articulata (jointed animals), and Radiata (everything else). In doing so he stressed internal structures as indicative of relationships, rather than external features. Made important collections of crustaceans and published on groups such as the isopods.
Charles Robert Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882)
His participation as naturalist in the 5-year voyage of exploration of the H.M.S. “Beagle” (1831-1836) made this expedition the most important in the history of biology. His observations led him to propose in 1858 (jointly with A.R. Wallace) the famous theory of evolution, detailed in “The Origin of Species” (1859). Began work on barnacles in 1846, and intensively studied their larval development, metamorphosis and adult morphology. His 4-volume work on living and fossil barnacles (1851,1852,1854,1855) elucidated their affinities, functional morphology, and evolution, establishing a classification still used today. A painstaking perfectionist in collecting and classifying his information, he was a man of independent means. Member of The Geological Society of London.
Henri Milne Edwards (23 October 1800 - 29 July 1885)
Head chair of Crustacea, Arachnida and Insecta, and also of Mammals and Birds, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris. Great French morphologist and classifier. Best known for his multi-volume work considered the first breviary of carcinologists: “Histoire naturelle des Crustacés” (1834-1840), where he named 1400 species and 350 genera. First to propose idea that the crustacean body is arranged in series of homologous segments each with a pair of appendages.
Alphonse Milne-Edwards (13 October 1836 - 21 April 1900)
French carcinologist, succeeded his father (H. Milne Edwards) as chair of Mammals and Birds, and became director of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris. Studied fossil crustaceans, and published many works documenting the diversity and morphology of decapods, mostly Brachyura and Anomura, from classic exploratory expeditions conducted on ships such as the "Travailleur", "Talisman", and the "Blake".
James Dwight Dana (12 February 1813 – 14 April 1895)
Professor, Yale College. One of the first professional American scientists. Attained the rank of zoologist, then leaving this for geology, his chief field. Became known in 1836 with a treatise on mineralogy, followed by a series of short papers on copepods. Geologist and Zoologist of the “U.S. Exploring Expedition” (1838-1842), one of the great events in the history of science in the United States. In his monumental work “Report on the Crustacea” (1853-1855), described hundreds of new species, and presented a philosophical treatment of the classification, relationships, and distributions of species. Editor for 50 years of “The American Journal of Science”, and founder of the National Academy of Science.
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION/NMFS STAFF
Austin Beatty Williams (17 October 1919 - 27 October 1999)
Research Scientist, Systematics Laboratory, National Marine Fisheries Service, based at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Obtained his Ph.D (1951) at the University of Kansas, studying Ozark crayfishes. His numerous publications covered the taxonomy, systematics, biogeography, and evolution of various decapod groups, both Fossil and Recent. Best known for his invaluable and widely used "Marine decapod crustaceans of the Carolinas" (1965), and its later expanded version "Shrimps, lobsters, and crabs of the Atlantic coast of the eastern United States" (1984). He was co-founder and president (1983-1985) of the Estuarine Research Federation, and was an active member of The Crustacean Society, and the Biological Society of Washington, among others.
(Photo: 1997, taken during ceremony in his honor)
Thomas Elliot Bowman III (21 October 1918 – 10 August 1995)
Curator, Department of Invertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Produced 163 papers on isopods, copepods, amphipods, mysids, and mictaceans. His mastery of crustacean comparative anatomy and morphology led him to produce classic, provocative studies such as on structural homology of the telson and on the evolution of stalked eyes.
Isabel C. Pérez Farfante (24 June 1916 – 20 AUGUST 2009)
Carcinologist Emeritus, U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, Systematics Laboratory. Born in La Havana, Cuba, she received her Ph.D. from Radcliffe College (1948). She was professor and researcher at the University of Havana; director of the Cuban Centro de Investigaciones Pesqueras; and associate in Invertebrate Zoology, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University. She has authored zoology textbooks, and numerous papers on the systematics of penaeoid shrimps, most notably landmark studies of the commercial genus Penaeus. She is senior author of the book “Penaeoid and sergestoid shrimps and prawns of the world” (1997). (Married name: Isabel C. Canet)
Fenner Albert Chace, Jr. (5 October 1908 – 30 May 2004)
Zoologist Emeritus, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Born in Fall River, Massachusetts. Obtained his Ph.D. in 1934 from Harvard University. He was Assistant Curator of Invertebrates (1934-1942) and Curator of Crustacea (1942-1046), at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University. Joined the staff of the U.S. National Museum* in 1946 where he worked until his retirement in 1978. He then completed his 7-part study of the caridean shrimps from the “Albatross” Philippines expeditions (1907-1910), published in Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology between 1983 and 1997. His interests centered primarily on caridean shrimps, and he is considered by his peers as one of the most influential and respected specialists on caridean shrimps in the latter half of the 20th century.
Mary Jane Rathbun (11 June 1860 – 14 April 1943)
Ascended from “copyist” to assistant curator in charge of the Department of Marine Invertebrates, U.S. National Museum. Prodigiously productive, considerably advanced knowledge of fossil and Recent decapod crustaceans of the world, describing 1147 new species, 63 genera, and 5 higher categories. Best known for her unparalleled, monumental 4-volume monograph of New World brachyuran crabs, and a treatise on freshwater crabs.
Waldo LaSalle Schmitt (25 June 1887 - 5 August 1977)
Head curator, Department of Zoology, U.S. National Museum. Succeeded M.J. Rathbun. His tireless collecting efforts during numerous expeditions worldwide led to the immense holdings of the national collections. His dedication to the advancement of invertebrate systematic zoology contributed to the unmatched growth and international recognition of the Department. Author of numerous taxonomic studies on decapods and stomatopods, and the popular book "Crustaceans" (1st printed 1931).
Raymond Brendan Manning (11 October 1934 – 18 January 2000)
Senior Zoologist, Department of Invertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Earned his BS (1956), MS (1959), and PhD (1963) from the University of Miami. He published 278 papers on stomatopods and decapods, including landmark monographs and other studies on West African crabs, Indo-pacific dorippids, commercial geryonids, cave shrimps, and callianassids. Above all, he was a master in stomatopods, and increased the known species from a handful to nearly 500 worldwide. In all, he named 279 species, 138 genera, 5 subfamilies, 19 families, and 3 superfamilies of extant decapods and stomatopods, and at least 15 genera and 27 species of fossil decapods. A tireless collector, he obtained more than 50,000 decapod and stomatopods for the Museum and other institutions. One of the founders, and first President (1981-1983) of The Crustacean Society, from which he received in 1999 the “Excellence in Research Award”.
OTHER NOTABLE CARCINOLOGISTS:
Aristotle (384 – 322 B.C.)
Greek philosopher, founder of zoology and natural history. Organisms we now call crustaceans (decapods, stomatopods, copepods) can be identified in his “Historia Animalium” under the account of “bloodless” animals. His description of 180 different Aegean Sea animals is the precursor of all subsequent publications in marine biology.
Maria Sibylla Merian (12 April 1647 – 13 January 1717)
Artist-naturalist, born in the imperial city of Frankfurt am Main. She was not only skilled in watercolor and oils, but also was a keen observer of habits of caterpillars, flies, spiders, and other creatures. Her most famous works are her “Raupen”, and after traveling to America, her “Metamorphosis of the Insects of Suriname”, and “European Insects”, which include exquisite plates depicting life stages of insects. She can be hailed as the first woman carcinologist as she prepared 60 crustacean paintings for Georg Everard Rumpf’s (Rumphius) 1705 book on the crustaceans from Amboina.
Jean-Baptiste P.A. de Monet de Lamarck (1 August 1744 – 28 December 1829)
French naturalist. Took a long time finding himself. As a soldier he fought with distinction in the Seven Years’ War. In 1781 he was appointed botanist to the king, and in 1793 (at nearly 50 years of age) professor of zoology at the Museum of Natural History in Paris, at which time he came into his own. Between 1815 and 1822 he produced the gigantic 7-volume work “Histoire naturelle des animaux sans vertèbres” which founded modern zoology. He coined the terms “vertebrate”, “invertebrate”, and “biology”. In his book “Philosophie Zoologique” he was the first biologist of rank to rationalize the evolutionary development of life. Unappreciated and often maligned in his time, he died blind and penniless.
Constantine Samuel Rafinesque (22 October 1783 – 18 September 1840)
Born in Constantinople, Turkey, into a French-German family. He privately studied natural sciences, medicine and mapmaking. He was an eccentric, perhaps unbalanced man, but his intellectual breadth was enormous. A keen naturalist, nearly every one of his 900+ publications is rare, appearing in obscure places or journals. His carcinological work focused on the faunas of Sicily and the eastern U.S. Most of the numerous crustacean names he proposed never attained taxonomic status because of faulty descriptions, lack of illustrations, and his practice of not keeping specimens. His work was unfairly ignored or minimized by contemporaries. He died in poverty and isolation in Philadelphia, and his collections and books sold as junk. In early years he used the name Rafinesque-Schmaltz.