Charles Wyville Thomson

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Thomson, Charles Wyville


Born Mar. 5,1830, at Bonsyde, near Linlithgow; died Mar. 10, 1882, at Bonsyde. Scottish oceanographer and biologist.

In 1868 and 1869, Thomson and the English biologist W. B. Carpenter led expeditions on the ships Lightning and Porcupine to study the depths of the sea and deep-sea fauna. From 1872 to 1876, Thomson headed the scientific staff of the oceanographic expedition that sailed around the world on the Challenger. The Wyville Thomson Ridge, an underwater mountain range separating the Atlantic Ocean basin from the Norwegian Sea, was named in Thomson’s honor.


The Depths of the Sea. London, 1873.
The Voyage of the Challenger, vols. 1–2. London, 1878.
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Charles Wyville Thomson, leader of the challenger Expedition in the 1870s believed that life in the deep water was confined primarily to a belt at the surface and one near the seabed, and believed the area in the middle to be almost completely without larger animals.
At the end of the voyage, expedition leader Charles Wyville Thomson appointed him assistant in drawing up the scientific results, which were to lay the foundations of almost every branch of modern oceanography.
Then in 1868 a British zoologist, Charles Wyville Thomson (1830-1882), began a series of deep-sea dredging operations that, after eight years, had led him some 70,000 zigzag miles over the oceans.