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Edward Forbes (February 12, 1815 – November 18, 1854)

Edward Forbes, a British naturalist, pioneer in the field of biogeography. Forbes analyzed the distribution flora, fauna and geological changes in various geographical distributions of land and water.

Feb 12_Forum_Sciencescript_Open_Access_Edward Forbes

He abandoned his medical study at Edinburgh, for fulfilling his interest in natural science and embarked upon a botanical tour of Norway (1833). He did extensive study of mollusks and starfishes, participating in dredgings and expeditions in the Irish Sea (1834), France, Switzerland, Germany, Algeria (1836), Austria (1838). In 1838 his first volume, Malacologia Monensis, on the species of Manx Mollusca is published.

In 1841 his History of British star-fishes was published, in the same year he was appointed as investigator of biology and geology of the Mediterranean region (april 1841 – october 1842). The results were discussed in his Report on the Mollusca and Radiata of the Aegean Sea (1843), and in Travels in Lycia (1847). in these reports he described his azoic hypothesis, stating that the below 300 fathom the mysterious dark depths of the seas Azoic zone,  lifeless region. Curiously, it took 25 years for the azoic hypothesis to fall from grace.

In 1842 he became curator at the Museum of the Geological Society of London; professor of botany at King’s College in 1943, paleontologist to the  Geological Survey of Great Britain in 1844 in London, professor of natural history to the Royal School of Mines in 1851 and in 1853 he became the youngest man elected president of the Geological Society.

He published an important essay on the studies of Flora and Fauna of the British Isles and the Geological Changes of that area in the Memoirs of the Geological Survey, in 1846.

Shortly before his death, he was awarded the natural history chair at the University of Edinburgh.


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