This Day In History: 1877-07-29


William Beebe (1877 – 1962) was born on this day.
He was a US naturalist, ornithologist, and marine biologist; although much of his career was devoted to ornithology he made important contribution to the aquatic sciences and is best known for his deep-sea explorations in the Bathysphere. The series of dives off the coast of Bermuda (1930 to 1934) marked the first time that a marine biologist was able to observe deep-sea animals in their native environment. The dives set several consecutive world records for the deepest dive ever performed by humans, the deepest reaching a depth of 923 metres. Beebe became the first person to observe how some frequencies of sunlight disappear, from the longest wavelength to shortest, as one descends into the depths of the ocean, and that below a certain depth the only colours of light to remain are blue and violet.

Beebe described around around 93 aquatic taxa and is honoured in the names of a number of species under beebei.