This Day In History: 1830-03-05

Charles Wyville Thomson (1830 – 1882) was born on this day. He was a Scottish marine biologist. Wyville Thomson is remembered for his studies of the biology of the deep-seas; the results of the dredgings by Sars off Norway led him to persuade the Royal Navy to grant him use of HMS Lightning and HMS Porcupine for deep sea dredging expeditions in 1868 and 1869. His findings demonstrated that animal life existed to depths of 1200m and that all marine invertebrate groups were present; he also showed that deep-sea temperatures were not constant as had been supposed, but varied considerably indicating oceanic circulation, these results were published in The Depths of the Sea (1873); all leading to The Challenger Expedition where he served as chief scientist.

Wyville Thomson described around 70 new taxa and is honoured in the names of a number of species under thomsonii.