Biographical Etymology of Marine Organism Names (BEMON)

 Ad perpetuam memoriam (see also AnimalBase for old literature)

(Biographies of Taxonomists working with Marine organisms
& some of their presumed Friends):

(For word roots of non eponyms, see biographical refs., but also this link)


To the left is a photograph of a living specimen of the very rare deep-living sea-star Porania (Pseudoporania) stormi (Dons, 1936) (Photographer: Anders Axelsson). You may find a few biographical notes about Storm, as well as Dons and several other taxonomists or other persons from the etymologies of marine organisms in BEMON.

Contents declaration: The biographies are most often very short, including at least (if known to me) full name, year of birth, year of decease (if applicable) and nationality. By a "taxonomist" is meant anyone, who has described one or more scientific name of organisms. "Presumed Friends" are persons occuring with their names in scientific names of organisms. The word Etymology has its roots from two Greek words etymon = truth and logos = word. Already in "Naturalis historia" by Gaius Plinius Secundus (q.v.) one may find etymological explanations about organism names, but in this list only names honouring persons, expeditions and similar things, i.e. eponyms (from Greek epi = on + Greek onoma or onyma = name), may be found.

The elements of this list were originally cut from a rather thick teaching aid compendium (or perhaps rather book - Hansson, H.G. 1998. Sydskandinaviska marina flercelliga evertebrater. utgåva 2. Länsstyrelsen, Västra Götaland, Miljöavdelningen 1998: 4. 294 + ix pp.), dealing with marine invertebrates from south Scandinavia - written in Swedish. When compiling this book, I tried as much as possible to explain the etymology of taxon names involved and for persons involved in such names micro-biographies were included. A somewhat later version of this work in around 320 pages + several index pages, although still in Swedish, is available as a pdf file here. and its small bibliography - 10 pages - list (also pdf) is here. The collection of biographies below is simply sampled from this book by cutting and pasting, followed by a fast English translation. However, rather many extra zoologists and several phycologists have later been added. Sometimes, but not consistently, examples of taxa connected with the name of a certain person are given within brackets. English is not my native language, so you have to excuse linguistical (and idiolectical) peculiarities. Only etymologies involving non-mythological persons, i.e. biographies of flesh-and-blood persons, are included here. Because of the sampling method, the list is certainly biased. You will find a comparatively large amount of persons from Europe, especially Scandinavia, Britain and Germany, but rather few from other parts of the world, albeit the bias is probably less now, compared to the initial phase of the web version.
The data have originally been collected from several sources. It is very easy to find encyclopedial data regarding a Linnaeus, a Darwin or even a Bowerbank, but if you are looking for e.g. Edward Waller, Augusta Ärnbäck-Christie-Linde, George Crawford Hyndman or the Pembrokshire naturalist John Adams you may need to try other ways, sometimes in vain. Some articles in journals and books are useful (e.g. see the selected references below). Of course obituaries and articles in biographical lexica have been very useful when found.
Some friends have provided a certain amount of information, e.g. Anders Warén, Stockholm, Riccardo Giannuzzi-Savelli, Palermo and Christoffer Schander, Göteborg about malacologists, Ole Tendal (and presumably Torben Wolff), Copenhagen about certain Danish biologists, Torleiv Brattegard, Bergen about some Norwegian scientists, Kristian Fauchald, Washington D.C. about some polychaetologists and his coworker Linda Ward about her distant relative Webster and some other American researchers. Kostya Khalturin, St. Petersburg helped with information about some Russian workers. During the last days of 1998 Dr. David Damkaer, found this list by chance and has been of invaluable help in correcting several mistakes and filling certain gaps. Thanks to the kind eagerness of Giannuzzi-Savelli, there may be a certain overload of malacological names (including a few non marine examples) compared to names related to other taxa. I have also received some answers about biographical information from different persons when asking questions to some of the biological mailing lists. Thank you, all of you!
As can be seen, there are still several persons, for which I more or less completely lack any information as well as several other lapses in the list below (and certainly many omissions), so I would be happy to hear from anybody, who could contribute with corrections or supply supplementary or new information. It is not always easy to find information of this kind when working in a Marine Biology Laboratory almost 200 km away from a major scientific library.
The years after each person's name is always the life span (or at least the year of birth for living persons - if known to the compiler), never fl. for floruit (imerfectum, 3:rd person singular of Latin florere = to flower), i.e. years of activity within a special field, which often is used in other biographical sources when life span is not known.
Regarding the spelling of author names, the most common spelling hopefully usually is used, although e.g. some transliterations of e.g. Cyrillic or Chinese names may sometimes be a bit odd due to the compiler's unexperience of other spellings than that given here. Often, however, some alternative spellings are given. In most languages the family name or "surname" are as a rule inherited from one generation to another, but there are exeptions. In e.g. Ethiopian tradition there are no family names, but the father's name is appended after the individual name and then lost in the next generation, because then there is a new father, but very few Ethiopians are involved in names of marine creatures. Prefixes to names, like af, de, di, d', van, von, 't, and ten are usually neglected in the alphabetical order of family names, except for Mac, Mc, and M' (see below), O' and in some cases of De, de, Dell', Delle, Della, Van, and Van der, when eponyms suggest that they are strongly connected to the rest of the name. (Often, however, in alphabetical accounts of Dutch names "van" and "van der" are dropped, while "de" is not and all are spelled with lower case initials; in Belgium all such names usually are retained in alphabetical accounts and spelled with upper case first initials; in South Africa they all usually also are retained in alphabetical accounts and spelled with lower case first initial if forenames or forename initials are included, but with upper case first initial if no forename or forename initials precede them).
N.B. The Scandinavian alphabetical order is used, i.e. the extra 3 letters used in Scandinavia (å, ä = æ & ö = ø) are placed last in the alphabet and the German letter ü is equalized with y. (A German letter looking like ß should be interpreted as ss, i.e. a duoble s, because the letter is a remain from the Fraktur style, long used in Germany, which had two different signs for s, one long (looking like f, but without the horizontal line) - inside words - and the normal looking short s in the end of words, so ß is simply a combination of those two different s-signs). Names beginning with Mc or M' are treated like names beginning with Mac in the alphabetical order of the list.

Hans G. Hansson - 1997-11-14. Latest changes . # mentioned persons: around 8000, but 40-45% of these still with very incomplete information. (The "Latest changes function" does not work any more after a sever change, but occasional changes have been done at least until April 2008)