John Murray (oceanographer)

John Murray (oceanographer)

Sir John Murray KCB (3 March 1841 – 16 March 1914) was a pioneering Scots-Canadian oceanographer and marine biologist.

Murray was born at Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, to Scottish parents who had emigrated seven years earlier. He returned to Scotland to study, firstly at Stirling High School, and then at the University of Edinburgh, but soon left to join a whaling expedition to Spitsbergen as ships' surgeon in 1868.

He returned to Edinburgh to complete his studies in geology under Sir Archibald Geikie and natural philosophy under Peter Guthrie Tait. Tait introduced Murray to Charles Wyville Thomson who had been appointed to lead the Challenger Expedition. In 1872, Murray joined Wyville Thomson as his assistant on this four-year expedition to explore the deep oceans of the globe. After Wyville Thompson succumbed to the stress of publishing the reports of the Challenger Expedition, Murray took over, and edited and published over 50 volumes of reports, which were completed in 1896. He was knighted (K.C.B.) in 1898. Murray was killed when his car overturned near his home on 16 March 1914 at Kirkliston, Edinburgh; he is buried at the nearby Dean Kirkyard.

In 1884 [ [ Overview of Dunstaffnage ik Marine Laboratory ] ] , Murray set up the Marine Laboratory at Granton, Edinburgh, the first of its kind in the United Kingdom. In 1894, this laboratory was moved to Millport, Isle of Cumbrae, on the Firth of Clyde, and became the University Marine Biological Station, Millport, the forerunner of today's Scottish Association for Marine Science at Dunstaffnage, near Oban, Argyll and Bute.

In 1909, Murray wrote to the Norwegian government that if they would lend the "Michael Sars" vessel to him for a four-month research cruise, under Johan Hjort's scientific command, then Murray would pay all expenses. After a winter of preparation, this resulted in the by that time most ambitious oceanographic research cruise ever. The 1912 Murray and Hjort book "The Depths of the Ocean" quickly became a classic for marine naturalists and oceanographers.

Murray is credited as the father of modern oceanography, and was the first person to use the term "oceanography". He was also the first to note the existence of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and of oceanic trenches. He also noted the presence of deposits derived from the Saharan desert in deep ocean sediments and published a vast number of papers on his findings. His last major contribution to science was coordinating a bathymetric survey of 562 of Scotland's freshwater lochs in 1897, involving over 60,000 individual depth soundings, which were published in 6 volumes in 1910. He was president of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society from 1898 to 1904.

He was awarded the Clarke Medal by the Royal Society of New South Wales in 1900. His name is remembered in the "John Murray Laboratories" at the University of Edinburgh, the John Murray Society at the University of Newcastle, and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency research vessel, the S.V. "Sir John Murray". In addition, the "Cirrothauma murrayi" octopus, which lives on depths from 1500 m to 4500 m and lacks object recognition abilities, is named after Murray.

In 1911, he founded the Alexander Agassiz Medal, awarded by the National Academy of Sciences, in memory of his friend Alexander Agassiz (1835-1910).


External links

* [ On the 1910 Murray and Hjort expedition and the "Cirrothauma murrayi" octopus]

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